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Full text of "The Demetrian"


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DUKE UNIVERSITY 



LIBRARY 



The Glenn Negley Collection 
of Utopian Literature 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2010 with funding from 
Duke University Libraries 



http://www.archive.org/details/demetrianOOhard 



THE DEMETRIAN 



THE 

DEMETRIAN 



By 
ELLISON HARDING 



B R E N T A NO'S 
NEW YORK MCMVII 



Copyright, igoy, by Brentanoi 

Entered at Stationers' Hall 



THE TROW PRESS, NEW YORK 



UT6P/A 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. A Goddess and a Comic Song , . , . y 

II. Harvesting and Harmony 2i 

III. The Cult of Demeter 37 

IV. Anna of Ann 53 

V. Irene 63 

VI. Neaera 77 

VII. A Tragic Denouement 94 

VIII. How the Cult was Founded .... loi 

IX. How It Might be Undermined . . . 119 

X. An Unexpected Solution 127 

XI. The Plot Thickens 135 

XII. Neaera's Idea of Diplomacy . . . . 144 

XIII. Neaera Makes New Arrangements . . 150 

XIV. "I Consented" 162 

XV. The High Priest of Demeter . . . . 171 

XVI. Anna's Secret 183 

XVII. Designs on Anna of Ann ...... 190 

5 



Contents 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XVIII. A Dream o . 200 

XJX. The Legislature Meets 207 

XX. On Flavors and Finance 219 

XXI. The Investigating Committee . . . 226 

XXII, "Treasons, Stratagems, and Spoils" . 238 

XXIII. A Libel 249 

XXIV. Neaera Again 259 

XXV. The Libel Investigated 266 

XXVI. The Election 285 

XXVII. The Joint Session 293 

XXVIII. Lydia to the Rescue 302 

Conclusion ...o 315 



THE DEMETRIAN 

CHAPTER I 

A GODDESS AND A COMIC SONG 

I REMEMBER awakening with a start, con- 
scious of a face bending over me that was 
beautiful and strange. 

I was quite unable to account for myself, and 
my surprise was heightened by the singular dress 
of the woman I saw. It was Greek — not of mod- 
ern but of ancient Greece. 

What had happened? Had I been acting in 
a Greek play and been stunned by an accident to 
the scenery? No; the grass upon which I was 
lying was damp, and a sharp twinge between the 
shoulders told me I had been there already too 
long. What, then, was the meaning of this classic 
dress? 

I raised myself on one arm; and the young 
woman who had been kneeling beside me arose 
also. I was dazed, and shaded my eyes from the 
sun on the horizon — whether setting or rising I 
could not tell. I fixed my eyes upon the feet of 

7 



The Demetrian 

my companion; they were curiously shod in soft 
leather, for cleanliness rather than for protection; 
tightly laced from the toe to the ankle and half 
way up the leg — half-moccasin and half-coth- 
urnus. I fixed my eyes upon them and slowly 
became quite sure that I was alive and awake, 
but seemed still dazed and unwilling to look up. 
Presently she spoke. 

"Are you ill?" she asked. 

*' I don't think so," answered I, as I lifted my 
eyes to hers. 

When our eyes met I jumped to my feet with 
an alertness so fresh and fruitful that I seemed to 
myself to have risen anew from the Fountain of 
Youth. A miracle had happened. I was dead 
and had come to life again — and apparently this 
time in the Olympian world. 

"Here!" I exclaimed; "or Athene! Cythe- 
rea, or Artemis! " 

Then quickly the look of sympathetic concern 
that I had just seen in her eyes vanished. A rip- 
ple of laughter passed over her face like the first 
touch of a breeze on a becalmed sea; for a moment 
she seemed to restrain it, but her merriment awak- 
ened mine, and on perceiving it she abandoned 
all restraint and burst Into a laugh tha^ was mus- 
ical, bewitching, and contagious. We stood there 

8 



A Goddess and a Comic Song 

a full minute, both of us laughing, though I did 
not understand why. She soon explained. 

" Where on earth do you come from, Xenos, 
and where — where did you get those things?" 
She pointed to my pantaloons as she spoke. 

Then I discovered how ridiculous I appeared. 

" And why have they cut all the hair off your 
face and left that ugly little stubble?" 

I put my hand to my chin and felt there a 
beard of several days' growth. 

" It must prick dreadfully," she said ; and com- 
ing up to me she daintily passed a soft, rosy finger 
over my cheek. I caught her hand and kissed it. 
She jumped away from me like a fawn. 

" Take care, young man," she said, reprov- 
ingly but not reproachfully; " though I don't sup- 
pose you are very young, for I see some gray in 
your hair." 

I don't suppose I liked being reminded of my 
years, but I was altogether too much absorbed in 
the richness of her beauty and health to be con- 
cerned about myself. And the subtle combination 
of freedom and reserve in her manner conveyed 
to me an indescribable charm. At one moment it 
tempted me to trespass, but at the next I became 
aware that such an attempt would meet with 
humiliating resistance; for she was tall and strong. 

9 



The Demetrian 

Her one rapid movement away from me proved 
her agility. She was perfectly able to take care 
of herself. Her consciousness of this had enabled 
her to meet my first advance with unruffled good 
humor, but I felt sure that persistence on my part 
would elicit repulsion and perhaps scorn. 

We stood a moment smiling at each other; 
then she said: 

" Come, you must take ofif those dreadful 
things; why, you are wet through" — and she 
passed her hand over my back — " and you must 
tell me what you are and where you come from. 
But you are chilled now and need something 
warm, so come to the Hall and you can tell me as 
we go." 

As she spoke she swung to her head a basket 
I had not before observed; it was heavy, for she 
straightened herself to support it; and the weight, 
until she balanced it, brought out the muscles of 
her neck. She put her arms akimbo and showed 
the way. 

" Well," she said, as we walked together side 
by side, " when are you going to begin? " 

" How and where shall I begin? " answered I. 
"You forget that I too have questions to ask; I 
am bewildered. Who and what are you? In 
what country am I? Where did you get that 

lO 



A Goddess and a Comic Song 

beautiful dress?" I stepped a little away from 
her to observe the beauty of her form. 

" We try to make all our garments beautiful," 
she answered, simply; "but this is the common 
dress of all — or rather the dress commonly worn 
in the country. We dress a little differently in 
town — but what do you find peculiar in my attire? 
What else could I wear out in the fields?" 

I looked at the drapery, which did not hang 
lower than the knee; at the girdle that barely in- 
dicated the waist; at the chiton gathered by a 
brooch on one shoulder, leaving bare the whole 
length of her richly moulded arm. 

" I would not have you wear anything else," 
said I, restraining my admiration; "but our 
women dress differently." 

" Tell me about them," said she. 

" I will," answered I, " but tell me first where 
I am and where we are going? " 

" You are near a place called Tyringham," 
answered she, " and you are going with me to 
breakfast at the Hall." 

As she spoke we were walking down a grassy 
slope and came in sight of a meadow on the left, 
through which meandered a crystal stream; it 
flowed from the right of the hill on which we 
stood, and just below where it fell in cascades over 



The Demetrian 

successive ledges it was straddled by a mill smoth- 
ered in jasmine and purple clematis. The mo- 
ment the mill came in sight my companion uttered 
a loud call that came echoing back to us from the 
surrounding hills. Her call was answered by sev- 
eral voices, and soon there came to meet us a youth 
as handsome in his way as my own companion. 
He, too, wore the Greek dress; he was about eight- 
een years of age and so like the girl that I guessed 
at once he was her brother. He put me out of 
countenance by staring at me with open-mouthed 
wonder and then bursting into an uncontrolled 
roar of laughter. But his sister took him by the 
arm and shook him. 

'' Stop laughing," she said. " Don't you see he 
doesn't like it? " 

The boy stopped immediately — for I confess 
his laughter was not as agreeable to me as hers — 
and there came upon him an expression of the gen- 
tlest solicitude. 

" I am sorry," he said, with tears of laughter 
still in his eyes; " I thought you were playing a 
joke on us." 

I tried to look pleasant. 

" I cannot at all account for myself," I said, 
" or for you; I suppose a long time has elapsed 
since I went to sleep ; so long that I hardly remem- 

12 



A Goddess and a Comic Song 

ber where it was, though I think it was in Boston 
— in my bachelor quarters there." 

They both looked puzzled and concerned. 

^' And what is your name? " asked the girl. 

" Henry T. Joyce," answered I. 

I could see that my very name amused them 
though they tried to conceal it. 

" And yours? " asked I of the girl. 

" Lydia — Lydia second, or more correctly, 
Lydia of Lydia." 

" That means," said the boy, " that her moth- 
er's name was Lydia; and so I call myself Cleon 
of Lydia, because, my mother's name was Lydia. 
She," he added, pointing to the girl, " is my 
sister." 

He was dressed, like her, in a simple tunic 
coming to the knees, and was shod like her also; 
but the tunic was not pinned up on one shoulder: 
it had sleeves like our jacket. 

We were walking down the hill and came now 
in sight of a group of buildings entirely of wood, 
of a beauty that made them a delight to behold. 
One much larger than the others reminded me of 
what Westminster Hall would be if separated 
from the more recent Houses of Parliament. It 
was lighted by large Gothic windows that started 
from above a covered veranda; the veranda 

13 



The Demetrian 

offered countless opportunities for surprises in the 
way of carved pillars, twisting staircases, and sub- 
sidiary balconies, every corner being smothered in 
vines and bursting into blossoms of varied hue. 
Clearly the upper part of the building was a large 
hall, and the lower part split up into smaller 
rooms. Near this Hall and connected with it by 
covered ways were numerous other buildings, all 
different, but conforming to the lay of the land 
on either side of a torrent, upon one level reach of 
which stood the mill in the same quaint style. 

" Our power house," said Cleon, pointing to it. 

I thought of the hideous masonry that ruined 
the valley of the Inn between San Moritz and 
Celerina in the old days, and I wondered. But my 
eyes were too much bent on the beautiful lines of 
Lydia's form to linger long on the mill or its adja- 
cent buildings. I had fallen behind her in order 
to be able to take better account of her. The 
v/eight of the basket on her head brought out the 
strength of her shoulders and the rhythmic move- 
ment of her body. Every time she turned to speak 
to us her hands left the waist in an unconscious 
effort to maintain her balance, thus throwing into 
relief the rounded outline of her arm and the deli- 
cacy of her wrist. " Alma venus genitrix," thought 
I, '' hominum divumque voluptas." 

H 



A Goddess and a Comic Song 

Cleon kept talking all the way, interrupted oc- 
casionally by Lydia. He explained all the build- 
ings to me and their respective uses. As we ap- 
proached the Hall we met several other young 
men and women who joined us, for all were going 
in the same direction. Each expressed the same 
surprise and amusement on beholding me; they 
joined Lydia, who with an air of importance 
repeated her story to every one. I felt more 
comfortable between Lydia and Cleon and had 
therefore joined the brother and sister, so as to 
have the protection of one of them on either 
side. 

When we reached the Hall, Cleon suggested 
that I must feel uncomfortable in my damp clothes 
and took me to the men's quarters. He provided 
me with all that was necessary for a complete 
toilet. A large swimming tank occupied the base- 
ment of the building, and into it I was glad to 
plunge. After I had shaved — for a razor was pro- 
vided — I assumed the simple garment of my 
neighbors and for the first time felt ashamed of 
the whiteness of my skin. By the side of the 
swarthy limbs about me my arms and legs looked 
naked and pitiful. I was extremely hungry, how- 
ever, and my appetite overcame my reluctance at 
facing the crowd that I felt was awaiting me at 

15 



The Demetrian 

the Hall. As we approached it we heard echoes 
of song and laughter. 

" They have finished breakfast," said Cleon, 
pushing me through the open doorway. 

Our entrance was unobserved, for they were all 
engaged in singing; the words I heard in chorus 
were "The Lightning Calculator!" They all 
stamped at each alternate syllable and I noticed 
that Lydia was the centre of observation. She was 
flushed, half with vexation and half with merri- 
ment, and was being held by a crowd of girls who 
prevented her from interfering with the soloist, 
who, standing on a chair with a guitar, was impro- 
vising. 

I could not hear the words distinctly from 
where I stood but caught something about a cer- 
tain Chairo, at the mention of whose name there 
was a laugh, and the stanza closed, as had the last, 
with " The Lightning Calculator," whereupon all 
laughed again and stamped as they repeated in 
chorus " The Light-ning Cal-cu-la-tor." 

" That's my sister," said Cleon to me in a whis- 
per. " She's the Lightning Calculator." 

In the next stanza, which was quite unintelli- 
gible to me, I noticed an allusion to Demeter, at 
which the women looked shocked and the men 
delighted. I was wondering at the significance of 

i6 



A Goddess and a Comic Sono: 

this when Lydia discovered me, and, delighted to 
divert attention from herself by directing it toward 
me, she said to the tormentors who were holding 
her: "There he is!" — and she nodded in my 
direction. 

Immediately all eyes were turned toward me 
and I became painfully conscious of my bare white 
legs. The young man with the guitar stepped 
down from 'his chair and came .to me. 

" Welcome to Tyringham," said he. " We 
don't know how you got here or where you come 
from, but we are ready to answer questions and 
willing to ask none." 

I stammered something in answer and was led 
to a table where two places had been left for us. 
Cleon and I sat down and food was brought. 
Lydia asked me a few conventional questions to 
put me at my ease ; but hardly succeeded, for seem- 
ingly some hundreds were engaged in staring at 
me. At last some one pushed the soloist by the 
arm. " One more verse, Ariston," said he, and 
Ariston jumped on the chair again, and, twanging 
his guitar, resumed : 

" Of swarthy skins she tires soon 
To her new things must cater, 
So now she's found a pantaloon — 
The Lightning Calculator." 

17 



The Demetrian 

My legs were well under the table so I could 
join in the laugh, secretly satisfied to be associated 
with her even in the jingling nonsense of a comic 
song. 

" Boobies! " exclaimed Lydia, " and Babies! " 
she added. "Boobies and Babies!" She ran to 
the door and they all followed her, boisterously 
laughing, and leaving me alone with Cleon. 

" I didn't understand much of it," said I. 
"Who is Chairo?" 

" Chairo is a great man; one of our great men; 
the youngest of them; he may become anything; 
but he is not popular because he is so dictatorial." 

" And he is in love with Lydia? " 

" Frightfully in love." 

" And Lydia? " 

"Ah! no one knows; she's very sly, Lydia"; 
and Cleon chuckled to himself. 

" And why did everybody look at one another 
when Ariston sang about Demeter? " 

" Well, the women don't like to have it talked 
about." 

I was puzzled. 

" Do tell me about it," I said, " for I know 
nothing about Demeter except what I have read 
in my classics." 

" Well, Demeter, you see " — but he blushed 

i8 



A Goddess and a Comic Song 

and stammered — " I really never had it altogether 
explained to me; the women never talk of it, and 
yet the Cult, as they call it, ' the Cult of Demeter,' 
is the most important thing to them in the world." 

I went on eating my breakfast and trying to 
guess what Cleon was driving at, but altogether 
failed. 

^' What does this Cult of Demeter have to do 
with your sister? " I asked at last. 

" Why," answered Cleon, looking round cau- 
tiously and lowering his voice, " Lydia is a De- 
metrian." 

" What does that mean — ' Demetrlan '? " 

" It means that she has been selected by De- 
meter." 

" Do try to remember," I said a little impa- 
tiently, '' that I know nothing about your De- 
meter and can make neither head nor tail of what 
you are saying." 

The irritation I felt made me aware that I was 
jealous of Chairo, jealous of Demeter, and infat- 
uated with Lydia. Cleon's half explanations 
seemed to be putting Lydia out of my reach, and 
I was exasperated at not being able to understand 
just how far. 

*' Well," answered Cleon, " I don't know 
whether I ought to tell you, but it's this way: 

19 



The Demetrian 

Lydia is awfully clever at figures. She can square 
any ten of them; add any number of columns; 
multiply any number by any number all in a flash. 
And so she's been selected by Demeter; that is to 
say, I suppose, they are going to marry her to some 
great mathematician." 

"What!" exclaimed I, indignantly. "They 
are going to sacrifice her to a mathematician? " 

"Sacrifice!" retorted Cleon with open eyes. 
" Why, it isn't a sacrifice! It is the greatest honor 
a woman can have! " 

" And what does Lydia say to it? " 

" She hasn't made up her mind." 

" Oh, then, she has to be consulted," said I, re- 
lieved. " She cannot be compelled." 

" Oh, no," answered Cleon, " she is selected — 
that is to say, the honor is offered to her; she may 
not accept it if she does not like; but a girl sel- 
dom refuses. She is no more likely to refuse the 
mission of Demeter than Chairo would be to re- 
fuse the Presidency. It is very hard work being 
President — very wearing; in fact, I should think 
it would be an awful bore; but nobody ever re- 
fuses it, because of the honor. I suppose it is the 
same thing with the mission of Demeter." 

I was more and more puzzled, but despaired 
of getting satisfaction from Cleon. 

20 



CHAPTER II 

HARVESTING AND HARMONY 

WE had finished breakfast now, and my 
hunger satisfied, I was free to look 
about me a little. The hall was lofty, 
and the roof supported by Gothic arches, sculp- 
tured by hands that had enjoyed the work; for 
although the design of the building was simple 
and dignified it was covered with ornaments of 
bewildering complexity. We were waited on by 
women who could not be distinguished from those 
upon whom they waited; of every age and of 
every type, most of them were glowing with 
health and cheerfulness. They laughed a great 
deal with one another, and offered me advice as 
to what they put before me; warned me when a 
dish was hot, and recommended the cream as par- 
ticularly fresh and sweet. They made me feel 
as though I had been there for years and knew 
every one of them intimately. Just as we were 
finishing, a fine old man with a white beard and 
a patriarchal countenance joined us: 

21 



The Demetrian 

" You come from a couple of centuries ago," 
he said. 

"Is it two centuries, or a thousand years?" 
asked I. 

" I have been looking at your clothes; you 
don't mind, do you? they indicate the end of the 
nineteenth or beginning of the twentieth century." 

" You have guessed right," said I ; '' and what 
year are you? " 

" We count from the last Constitution which 
was voted ninety-three years ago, in 201 1 of your 
reckoning. So we call the present year 93." 

" So you have given up the old Constitution," 
I said with a touch of sentiment in my voice. 

" Yes, it had to be changed when we advanced 
to where we are now in methods of manufacture 
and distribution of profits." 

'* Can you give your methods a name?" 

"You used to call it Collectivism; we call it 
Solidarity." 

" You mean to say you actually practise Col- 
lectivism! " 

The patriarch smiled. 

" Your writers used to say it was impossible," 
he said; "just as the English engineers once said 
the building of the Suez Canal was impossible, 
and our own engineers the building of the Panama 

22 



Harvesting and Harmony 

Canal was impossible. As a matter of fact. Col- 
lectivism is as much easier than your old plan as 
mowing with a reaper is easier than mowing with 
a scythe. You will see this for yourself — and you 
will see " here his brow darkened — " that the 
real problem — the as yet unsolved problem — is a 
very different one. But Cleon must join the hay- 
makers; what would you like to do?" 

I was much interested in the old man and was 
anxious to hear what he had to say about the " as 
yet unsolved problem," which I already guessed. 
But I was still more anxious to be with Lydia, so 
I asked: 

" Does Cleon work with his sister? " 

" Yes," said Cleon, " on the slope, a few min- 
utes from here." 

" Perhaps I had better make myself useful," 
said I hypocritically. 

I thought I detected a little smile behind the 
big white beard as the old man said to Cleon, 
"Well, hurry off now; you are late." 

I followed Cleon up the hill. He explained 
to me on the way that the meadows were all cut 
by machinery, but that the slopes had still to be 
cut by hand. We soon came upon a group in 
which I recognized Lydia and Ariston. They 
were on a steep hill. Lydia was swinging her 

23 



The Demetrian 

scythe with the strength and skill of a man. She 
was the nearest to me of a row of ten, all swinging 
together. Ariston was singing an air that fol- 
lowed the movement; he sang low; and all joined 
occasionally in a modulated chorus. Cleon took 
up a scythe and joined them. I was glad to ob- 
serve that there was no scythe for me, for I had 
never handled one. I stood watching the work. 
When the song was over they worked in silence, 
but the rhythm of their swinging replaced the 
music. It reminded me of the exhilarating har- 
mony of an eight-oared crew. At last one of the 
girls cried out, '' I want to rest "; and all stopped. 

" I was hoping some one would cry ' halt! ' " 
said Ariston. 

*' So was I," whispered Lydia to hirrk 

" So were we all," called out the rest. 

They sat down on the grass ; after a moment's 
breathing space Ariston lifted his hand; all looked 
at him, and he started a fugue which was taken 
up, one after another, by the entire party; to my 
surprise and delight I recognized Bach's Num- 
ber Seven in C flat, and I began to understand the 
role that music might play in the life of a people, 
and what a pitiable business our twentieth-cen- 
tury notion of it was. Confined to a few labori- 
ous executants and still fewer composers, the rich 

24 



Harvesting and Harmony 

partook of it at stated hours in overheated rooms, 
and the masses ignored it, except in its most vul- 
gar form, almost altogether; while here, under a 
tree in the large light of the sun during an in- 
terval of rest, all not only enjoyed it, but joined in 
it at its best. I singled out Lydia's rich contralto 
and noted how she dwelt on the notes that marked 
changes of key, with a delight in counter-point 
that belonged to her mathematical temperament. 
I watched her every movement. She had thrown 
off the loose gloves she wore while mowing and 
was lying on her face, playing with a flower. The 
posture would have been regarded by us of the 
twentieth century as unmaidenly; but in the at- 
mosphere created by the simplicity of these peo- 
ple I felt as though I were in one of Corot's 
pictures. Maidenliness had ceased to be a mat- 
ter of convention and had become a matter of 
fact. There was a fund of reserve behind the 
frankness of Lydia's manner that conveyed a con- 
viction of rectitude entirely beyond the necessity 
of a rigorous manner, or of a particular method of 
deportment. 

I seemed to be transported back to the peas- 
antry of some parts of France or of the Tyrol; 
but here was an added refinement that demolished 
the distance which had always kept me despair- 

25 



The Demetrian 

ingly aloof from these; here was the charm of 
frankness, of gayety, and of simplicity, coupled 
with a cleanliness of person, delicacy of thought 
and manner, culture, art, music — all that makes 
life beautiful and sweet. 

The young men and women who sat singing 
under the trees, smitten here and there with 
patches of sunlight, were all of them comely and 
wholesome of body and mind; but Lydia was to 
me preeminent; and yet, could it be said that she 
was beautiful? Her eyes were long and narrow 
and when I crossed glances with her they escaped 
me; so that I forgot the matter of beauty in my 
eagerness to penetrate their meaning; her face 
was too square to satisfy the ideal; her nose was 
distinctly tip-tilted, like the petal of a flower; her 
mouth was large and well shaped — altogether de- 
sirable; and her hair was flaxen and straight, but 
in its coils it seemed to have a separate life of its 
own so brightly did it gleam and glow. 

Lydia was the first to jump up and suggest 
that work be resumed; and as she stood among 
the prostrate forms of her companions she em- 
bodied to my mind Diana, with a scythe in her 
hand instead of a bow. All arose together and 
set to work again, but in silence this time; and 
under the shade where I sat, nothing broke the 

26 



Harvesting and Harmony- 
quiet save the hum of insect life in the blazing 
sun and the periodic swirl of the reapers. They 
did not rest again until the patch of hillside at 
which they worked was mown, when with a sigh 
of satisfaction they rested a moment on their 
scythes; but for a moment only, for presently 
Lydia ran for shelter from the sun to the shade of 
the tree under which I sat. She reclined quite 
close to me, looked me frankly in the face and 
smiled. I was surprised to find eyes that had 
escaped me till now suddenly become fixed com- 
posedly on mine, and noticed for the first time 
that these women put on and off their coquetry 
according to the context of their thought, for 
presently she said: 

" I am afraid you are lazy! " 

" I believe I am," answered I. 

" You mean to say you wouldn't like to join 
us in our work? " 

There was not the slightest reproach in her 
voice, only surprise. 

" I much prefer looking at you," I replied 
with a little attempt at gallantry. But there was 
no response in her eyes that remained fixed on 
me. She was trying to explain me to herself. I 
felt uncomfortable at being a mere object of ab- 
stract curiosity. She w^as reclining on her side, 

27. 



The Demetrian 

resting on one hand: in the other hand she was 
absently twisting a flower she had plucked. Not- 
withstanding my discomfort I rejoiced in at last 
plunging my look deep into hers. What was hap- 
pening in the blue depths of those eyes? I felt 
as though I were trying to penetrate the secrets 
of a house the windows of which reflected more 
light than they passed through. I saw the reflec- 
tion only. Behind was a judge weighing me in 
the balance, but as to whose judgment I could 
form no idea. And although I was conscious that 
in her I had a critic, I was so bewitched by her 
charm that I said to her in an undertone — for the 
others were talking to one another: 

"You are very beautiful!" 

She waved her flower before my eyes as 
though to put a material obstacle, however frail, 
between us and smiled; but she looked down pres- 
ently and laughingly answered: 

" That doesn't make you any the less lazy." 

I did not wish to be set down permanently in 
her mind as good for nothing, so I explained: 

"I am not incurably so; indeed, at my own 
work I was industrious; but I never held a scythe 
in my life." 

She looked at me again in open-eyed wonder. 

" What was ' your own work '? " asked she. 
28 



Harvesting and Harmony 

" I practised law." 

" What, nothing but law? Did you never get 
tired of doing nothing but law? " 

" We believed in specializing." 

"Ah, I remember! The nineteenth century 
was the great century of specialization. Later on 
it was found that specialization was necessary to 
original work, but that it brutalized labor; we 
have very few specialists now: only those who 
have genius for particular things, as, for example, 
doctors, engineers, electricians — but we have no 
lawyers.''^ She laughed at me with bantering but 
good-natured contempt in her laugh as she em- 
phasized the word " lawyers." " And you mean 
to say you did nothing but lawyerise? " And she 
suddenly with finger and thumb lifted my free 
hand that was resting on the grass — for I was re- 
clining on my other elbow, too — and I became 
aware that my hand was soft and white. 

" It wasn't always soft and white," I ex- 
plained. " I did a great deal of rowing at col- 
lege." 

She kept hold of my hand with finger and 
thumb and laughed gently: 

" I don't believe it ever did a useful bit of 
work in its life." 

I was piqued; and yet her low laugh was so 
29 



The Demetrian 

catching, her long eyes so subtle, her lips so be- 
witching, that I gladly let my hand hang in her 
contemptuous fingers so long as I could be near 
her and in commune with her. 

" That depends on what you call useful work," 
said I. 

" I call useful any work that contributes to our 
health, wealth, and well-being." The coquetry 
went out of her manner again and she became 
thoughtful. '' The people of that time needed 
lawyers to fight their battles for them, but we have 
got rid of at any rate one principal occasion of 
discord — the occasion that made lawyers neces- 
sary. We have men specially versed in the law 
still, but they don't confine themselves to law; 
they cut hay too. Ariston is a great lawyer." 

She had dropped my hand by this time; as 
she mentioned Ariston we both looked toward 
him; one of the girls exclaimed: 

" I am hot; let's sing something cool." 

" The Fountain," called out another. 

Ariston lifted his hand again, and after beat- 
ing a measure struck a clear high note; he held 
the note during a measure and then his voice came 
tumbling down the scale in bursts of semitones 
relieved by tonic spaces, with a variety that re- 
minded me of the Shepherd's song in " Tristan 

30 



Harvesting and Harmony 

and Isolde." The moment he left the first high 
note it was taken up by another voice during the 
full measure, and as soon as the second voice 
dropped down the scale, a third one pitched the 
high note again, and so on voice after voice, the 
high note imaging the highest point of the jet 
d'eauj and every voice dropping tumultuously 
down into a placid pool of infinite variety below. 
Lydia did not attempt the high note, but begin- 
ning low kept at the low level in peaceful con- 
trast to the sparkling tenors and sopranos, the 
whole musical structure resting on the bass which 
moved ponderously and contrapuntally against 
the contraltos. 

How shall I tell the thoughts that crowded 
upon me as, lying on my back, I listened to this 
amazing harmony! The beginning reminded me 
of one of Palestrina's masses and transported me 
to a Christmas midnight at the church of St. Ger- 
vais; but as soon as the intention of the strain be- 
came clear to me, I felt that it belonged to the 
open air, to the eternal spaces, to the new-mown 
hay, to my radiant companions. The merriment 
of it, its complexity, its wholesomeness, the de- 
light it gave — all brought to a focus and intensi- 
fied the Interest that was growing within me for 
Lydia. 

31 



The Demetrian 

But the whole party rose now to begin work 
on another hillside and Lydia turned to me with: 

"Why do you stay with us? Why not go to 
the Hall? You will find the Pater there; we call 
him the Pater because he is the father of the 
settlement. He will want to talk to you, and you 
need to talk to him." She put an arch little em- 
phasis on the word " need." Evidently she did 
not want me to be loitering among them. I pre- 
tended to adopt her suggestion with alacrity al- 
though in my heart I wished nothing but to re- 
main with her. 

" Yes," I said, " I shall never get out of my 
bewilderment unless I talk to some one who can 
understand my point of view." 

" And you will probably find Chairo there," 
she added, with a provoking smile. " He was to 
arrive to-day." 

Ariston pricked his ear: 

"Ah!" he said. "You will enjoy meeting 
Chairo; he is the leader of our Radical party; 
he is in favor of all sorts of Radical measures — 
such as the destruction of the Cult — " the women 
looked at one another — " the respect of private 
property " 

"What! Do you call the respect of private 
property Radical?" asked I. "It was the shib- 

32 



Harvesting and Harmony 

boleth of the Conservatives in my time; they 
called it the ' sacredness of private property.' " 

" Just as the Demetrians speak of the ' sacred- 
ness ' of the Cult to-day," said Ariston. 

" Whenever Hypocrisy wants to preserve an 
abuse she calls it Sacred," said a strong voice at 
my elbow. I turned and saw that a new compan- 
ion had been added to us, and I guessed at once 
that it was Chairo. 

He was a splendid man; nothing was wanting 
to him — stature, nor beauty, nor strength. He 
was remarkable, too, by the fact that his face was 
clean shaved, whereas all the other men I had 
met wore beards; but his face bore a likeness so 
striking to that of Augustus that to have hidden 
it by a beard would have been a desecration. And 
he was strong enough in mind as well as in muscle 
to bear being exceptional. It would have been 
impossible for him to be other than exceptional. 

Lydia blushed as she recognized him, and the 
blush suggested what I most feared to know. 
Chairo went to her and without a shadow of af- 
fectation took her hand, knelt on one knee, and 
kissed it. There could have been no clearer con- 
fession of his love. I could not help contrasting 
the frankness of this act and the superb humility 
of it with the reticence, hypocrisy, and pride 

33 



The Demetrian 

that characterized our twentieth-century love- 
making. 

Lydia with her disengaged hand made a sign 
of the cross over his head; not the rapid, timid, 
fugitive conventional sign that Catholics made in 
our day, but with her whole arm, a large sign, 
swinging from above her head to his as it bowed 
over her hand, with a large sweep afterward 
across ; and as she did so I saw her eyes widen and 
her glance stretch forward across the heavenly 
distance. 

For the first time I felt the narrowness of my 
life and my own insignificance. And I — I — had 
dared to think I could make love to this woman! 
For a moment it occurred to me that Lydia had 
encouraged me; but so mean an apprehension of 
her could not live in her presence. As she stood 
there making the sign of the cross over the bowed 
head of her beloved, I knew that Love was some- 
thing more in this civilization than the satisfac- 
tion of a caprice or the banter of good-humored 
gallantry; that it was possible to make of Love 
a religion, without for that reason sacrificing the 
charm of life, and the particular charm that 
makes the companionship of a woman something 
different from the companionship of a man. 

And yet I was puzzled; was Lydia not a 
34 



Harvesting and Harmony 

Demetrian? Cleon had told me she had not yet 
made up her mind; but was there not in this 
greeting with Chairo a practical admission of a 
betrothal? And what was the meaning of the 
sign of the cross? Was Christianity still alive, 
then? And if so, how reconcile Christ and De- 
meter? And there swung through my mind the 
terrible invocation of the poet: "Thou hast con- 
quered, O pale Galilean! The world has grown 
gray from thy breath." 

When the cult of Demeter had first been 
hinted to me I had assumed that the reign of the 
Galilean was over, and that the old gods had 
resumed their sway. The possibility of this had 
admitted a note of latent triumph in the hymn 
to Proserpine. 

Will thou yet take all, Galilean ? Yet these things 

thou shalt not take : 
The laurel, the palm and the paean ; the breast of 

the nymph in the brake. 

Could it be that we could keep these things and 
yet remain loyal to the religion of sacrifice? 
Could we worship as well at the voluptuous altar 
of Cytherea and at the mystic shrine of the Holy 
Grail? 

My mind was in a tumult of inquiry as Chairo 
35 



The Demetrian 

arose from his knee and engaged in conversation 
with the group ; and though they did not point or 
look at me I knew that it was of me they were 
talking. Presently, Chairo came to me and held 
out his hand: 

"You are a traveller from the Past, I hear! 
Dropped down among us in some unaccountable 
way." He looked me squarely in the eye as he 
held my hand a moment, with a frank scrutiny 
that I had already noticed in Lydia. Then he 
added: 

" You were returning to the Hall; if you don't 
mind, I shall accompany you ; it is too late for 
me to begin work before lunch; besides, there is 
no scythe for me." And waving his hand to 
Lydia and the others, he walked away with me 
toward the Hall. 



36 



CHAPTER III 

THE CULT OF DEMETER 



"j ^OR some distance we walked in silence. At 

1^ last I said: "You will not be surprised to 

hear that I am bewildered; everything is 

in some respects so much the same and in others 

so different." 

" I am curious to know what bewilders you 
most." 

" Well, it is bewildering enough to be told 
that you are actually living under the regime of 
Collectivism — a thing which we always consid- 
ered impossible; but I confess what piques my 
curiosity most is this cult of Demeter " 

A scowl came over Chairo's face. 

" How much do you know about it? " 
said he. 

" Nothing, except that Lydia is a Demetrian 
and that she is to be married to some mathema- 
tician " 

" Married!" interrupted Chairo. " It cannot 
37 



The Demetrian 

be called a marriage! It is a desecration!" He 
paused a moment as if to collect himself and then 
began again in a calmer voice: 

'' It is difficult for me to speak of It with- 
out impatience; but declamation which is well 
enough on the rostrum is not tolerable in conver- 
sation, so I shall not give way to it. The cult 
of Demeter is an abomination — one of the natural 
fruits of State Socialism, which, to my mind, 
means the paralysis of individual effort and death 
to individual liberty. I lead the opposition in 
our legislature, and you will, therefore, take all 
I say with the allowance due to one who has 
struggled, his whole life through, against what I 
believe to be an intolerable abuse. The cult of 
Demeter is nothing more nor less than the at- 
tempt to breed men as men breed animals. It 
totally disregards the fact that a man has a soul, 
and that the demands of a soul are altogether 
paramount over those of the body. To attempt 
to breed men along purely physical or mental 
lines without regard to psychical aspirations is 
contrary not only to common sense, but to the 
highest religion. Did not Christ Himself say, 
* What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole 
world, and lose his own soul'?" 

" You quote Christ," interrupted I. " Is it 
38 



The Cult of Demeter 

possible that the Christian religion can live side 
by side with the cult of Demeter? " 

" Yes," said Chairo, " and this is perhaps just 
where the mischief lies. Christianity has re- 
mained among us as the religion of sacrifice; and 
the priests of Demeter bolster up their hideous 
doctrine and their exorbitant power by appeal to 
this religion of sacrifice." 

" But where," asked I, " do they derive this 
power of theirs? " 

" Where else," answered Chairo, " but through 
the hold they have upon the imagination of the 
women — that terrible need for ritual which has 
given the priest his power ever since the world 
began. Gambetta was right, ' Le clericalisme ; 
voila I'ennemi.' " 

" Do you mean to say," asked I, '' that super- 
stition has survived among you?" 

" No, you cannot call it superstition; the time 
has long since passed when the priesthood could 
impose on the minds of men through superstition; 
but just because they now appeal to a higher and 
nobler function of mind are they the more dan- 
gerous." 

" Tell me," I said — I paused a moment, for 
I was very anxious to ask a question and yet a 
little afraid to do so. 

39 



The Demetrian 

But Chairo looked at me again with a look 
so frank that I ventured: 

" Tell me," I said, " is Lydia going to accept 
the mission? " 

" No one can tell," said Chairo. " She is pro- 
foundly religious, profoundly possessed with this 
notion of sacrifice; she has been brought up to 
believe the mission of Demeter the highest honor 
which the state can give, and it comes to her now 
clothed with all the mysticism of a strange ritual 
and a religious obligation. Think of it: just be- 
cause she has the talent of rapid calculation, a 
knack which you in your time used to exhibit as 
a freak in a country fair, she is to be sacrificed — 
ah, if it were only a sacrifice I shouldn't com- 
plain — but she is to be contaminated. She is to 
be contaminated, because, forsooth, it is believed 
that by coupling this knack of calculation with 
one possessing a profounder genius for mathe- 
matics, she will bring into the world a being fur- 
ther endowed with mathematical ability. What 
if she did; is there not something in the world 
worth more than mathematics? " 

" And what mathematician will be selected? " 
asked I. 

" That is the wicked part of it," answered 
Chairo; "that matter is absolutely in the hands 

40 



The Cult of Demeter 

of the priests. My God!" he said, " I shall not 
endure it. 

His eyes flashed, and his voice, though low, 
rang as he spoke these words. But we were now 
approaching the Hall and we saw the Pater, as 
they called him, sitting upon the veranda. " I 
have spoken vigorously," he said in a lower voice, 
as we approached the Hall — " perhaps too vigor- 
ously; but I do not mean to disguise my inten- 
tion. I would not speak in this way upon a public 
platform, because they would endeavor to stop 
me, and the issue would be raised before public 
opinion is ripe for it. But I warn you the Pater 
is on the side of the priests, and so, to avoid dis- 
cussion, which we seldom allow to interfere with 
the harmony of our domestic life, I recommend 
you not to speak of these things to the Pater when 
I am present." 

The Pater arose and advanced to meet us, 
holding out his hands to Chairo. 

" Welcome to Tyringham," he said. And 
then looking toward me he added : " You could 
not get hold of a better man to explain to you the 
changes that have occurred since your time, but 
I warn you he will not give you an optimistic 
view of them." 

I smiled, but said nothing. 
41 



The Demetrian 

After a few words about the weather and the 
crops Chairo left us, and I at once began upon 
the burning theme. 

I repeated to him the substance of what 
Chairo had said, leaving out the heat, the indig- 
nation, and the threat. I sat down on the bal- 
cony with the Pater, and he, after listening to me, 
began : 

" Chairo is a man of extraordinary gifts, and 
has, of course, the quality which generally at- 
tends these gifts — inordinate ambition. Such 
men are naturally prone to favor individualism 
as opposed to collective action, and to desire the 
rewards that come from individual success. It 
was such men as Chairo who prevented so long 
the realization of Solidarity, and who will al- 
ways constitute a formidable opposition. Nor, 
indeed, would it be well for the state that they 
should cease to exist; for the CoUectivist com- 
munity would soon lapse into mere routine and 
officialism, were it not kept perpetually at its best 
by the opposition of just such as these. 

" Unfortunately in this particular case his op- 
position is rendered not only acute but danger- 
ous, by the fact that he has come into collision 
with one of the most precious institutions of the 
state, through his inordinate passion for Lydia. 

42 



The Cult of Demeter 

Indeed, I had Chairo in mind wlien I said to you, 
as we parted, that the economic problem pre- 
sented by the distribution of wealth was by far 
the least of the problems that presented them- 
selves. The desire for the accumulation of wealth 
is an artificial desire; it grew with the institution 
of private property, and when the institution of 
private property was abolished the desire for it 
very soon, in great part, disappeared. But the 
desire of a man for a woman is an elemental pas- 
sion which has its root deep down in the neces- 
sities of human nature. This passion will always 
be with us and will always tend, when coupled 
with such abilities as Chairo's, to disrupt the 
state." 

" But," I interrupted, " is not this cult of 
Demeter a dangerous thing? " 

" To the mind of Chairo," answered he, " in- 
flamed as it is by his love for Lydia, undoubtedly 
it is. But all those who belong to Chairo's party 
and hate Collectivism because it doesn't furnish 
them the reward which they feel due to their 
ability, are using this issue in an attempt to break 
up the entire system. But consider for a moment 
what is this cult of Demeter which you think so 
dangerous. In the first place there is in it no 
coercion, absolutely none: the priests tender to 

43 



The Demetrian 

such women as they think proper the mission of 
Demeter, and this mission can be accepted or de- 
clined; no disgrace attends the declining of it; 
the woman to whom it is offered is absolutely 
free. In the second place, the cult is to the ut- 
most degree reasonable. Let us, for a moment, 
glance at the notions that have prevailed on this 
subject in times past. 

" From the earliest civilization the notion has 
prevailed that the most highly religious act a 
woman could perform was to make the sacrifice 
involved in celibacy. We see it in one of its most 
beautiful developments at Rome. There, to the 
Vestal Virgins was entrusted the maintenance of 
the sacrificial flame; to them were accorded the 
highest honors of the Roman state, the most fa- 
vored places at all state functions; they alone, 
except the consuls, were preceded in the street 
by lictors, and if, in walking through the streets 
of Rome, they met a criminal going to execution, 
he was immediately set free. The sacrifice re- 
quired by this institution was chastity. So, in the 
Christian Church, those of both sexes who desired 
to give themselves particularly to the worship of 
Christ secluded themselves in convents and took 
the vow of chastity. Yet what a barren piece of 
sentimentality it was! We respect it still, because 

44 



The Cult of Demeter 

there was in it the element of sacrifice; but a 
woman capable of such self-sacrifice as this com- 
mits a crime against the body politic by refusing 
to become the mother of children; it is just from 
such women as these that we want to raise new 
generations, capable of carrying the torch of civ- 
ilization onward in its march. The real sacrifice 
to be demanded of these is not chastity; it is the 
surrender of personal inclination to the benefit 
of the commonwealth. The real sacrifice con- 
sists in refusing to leave the maternal function at 
the mercy of a momentary caprice, and, on the 
contrary, in consecrating it to a noble purpose 
and to the general good. But you can hardly un- 
derstand all this till you have heard the story of 
Latona, who founded the cult — the first and 
greatest saint in our calendar." 

The Pater did not persuade me; it was hor- 
rible to me that it should be in the power of any 
man or men, by appealing to a woman's willing- 
ness to sacrifice herself or by the exercise of priest- 
ly craft, to condemn her to marriage without love, 
which, to my mind, is its only justification. 

" And you think," said I, protesting, " that it 
is right to sacrifice the love of a woman for life? " 

"No," interrupted the Pater, "not for life! 
There you labor under a mistake. Let me tell you 

45 



The Demetrian 

what happens: if a woman accepts the mission 
she becomes attached to the temple of Demeter, 
and while attending upon the ritual is slowly pre- 
pared for the act of sacrifice; this is a period of 
seclusion and prayer. Not that we believe in the 
existence of a goddess Demeter, but that Demeter 
represents to us that divinity in our own hearts 
which puts passion under constraint, and makes 
of it, not a capricious tyrant, but a servant to hu- 
man happiness — our own happiness best under- 
stood, believe me — as well as the happiness of the 
community. And so the Vestal — for so we entitle 
her — invokes and keeps herself in communion 
with this special divinity within us each, and 
without us all, until her heart is lifted into a con- 
sciousness of her mission as the highest ppssible 
to her sex. Compare that, my friend, with the 
maternity which is often the undesired conse- 
quence of a caprice or ceremony. But as I have 
already hinted, the sacrifice is neither imposed at 
all, nor is it suggested for a lifetime. 

" Indeed, the Demetrian ceremony, once con- 
summated, often results in permanent marriage; 
upon this point the woman has the first word; 
though, of course, the ultimate conclusion must 
rest upon the consent of both. For example, the 
woman decides the question whether the bride- 

46 



The Cult of Demeter 

groom shall become known to her. Some women, 
in whom the instinct of the mother predominates 
over that of the wife, elect never to know the 
father of their child; and as soon as pregnancy is 
assured, cease all relations with him. Others, in- 
deed the great majority, become mystically at- 
tached to the man who, in the obscurity of the 
Demetrian temple, has accomplished for them the 
mission of their motherhood; they ask to see him; 
and if upon fuller acquaintance both consent, a 
provisional marriage is celebrated between them." 

" Provisional marriage!" exclaimed I, aghast 
again. 

" All our first marriages are provisional," an- 
swered the Pater with magnificent disregard for 
my indignation. " What can be more preposter- 
ous — more fatal to happiness — than to commit a 
man and woman for life to bonds accepted at an 
age when the mind is immature, and under an 
impulse which is notoriously blinding. It became 
a commonplace paradox in your time that the 
fact of being in love was a convincing argument 
against marriage; for a human being in love is 
one who has been by so much deprived of reason 
— by so much deprived of the exercise of the very 
judgment most necessary to select a life compan- 
ion. Look back at the consequences of your in- 

47 



The Demetrian 

stitution of marriage: in your time it was already 
in process of dissolution; the facility of divorce 
had already destroyed the indissolubility of mar- 
riage, and made of it a mere time contract. And 
divorce, that the clergy of your day regarded as 
a trespass of Immorality on the sanctity of the 
marriage tie, was, as a matter of fact, the protest 
of Morality against the immoral consequences of 
the indissolubility of the marriage tie. No, there 
are two essential elements in sexual morality: one 
is temperance; the other is sacrifice. All are ex- 
pected to practise the one; the few only are ca- 
pable of practising the other. The art is to frame 
institutions which recognize this and to accom- 
modate the institution to the temperament of the 
race " 

" Yes," interrupted I, '' but this is just where 
you fail; how are you accommodating your Deme- 
trian institutions to such temperaments as those 
of Lydia and Chairo? Do you not see that by 
imposing them in such cases as theirs you are 
risking the wreck of your entire system? " 

" You are perhaps right," answered the Pater. 
" I am not initiated into the secrets of the priest- 
hood; but it may be easily guessed that upon the 
application of the system there may well be diver- 
gence of opinion. We have already seen the sys- 

48 



The Cult of Demeter 

tern result in infamous outrage in the South, and 
give rise to the necessity of government interven- 
tion — a very dangerous thing in such questions." 

" But how do you practise this system of pro- 
visional marriage?" 

" Simply enough: the first marriage is always 
provisional; if a child is born, the marriage must 
last until the child is weaned; at that time the 
parties are expected either to renew the vow of 
fidelity in the temple of Demeter, or to renounce 
it. They can at that time renounce it without dis- 
grace, though it is seldom renounced without 
heart-burning; one wants to renounce and the 
other to renew. But both know in advance that 
the day of the weaning — which is a function of 
the cult — is the day upon which final vows are 
to be pronounced; both prepare for it, and its 
inevitable coming insures on the part of the 
one who most desires the renewal a conduct of a 
nature to insure it. But renunciation on the part 
of either involves no disgrace. A second renun- 
ciation after a second marriage is otherwise. 
There is no institutional obstacle to it; each or 
both can at any time renounce; but public opin- 
ion has happily created a sentiment against a sec- 
ond renunciation, which makes them rare. This 
is just where the system broke down in the South; 

49 



The Demetrian 

the public opinion against repeated renunciations 
did not exist; caprice became the order of the 
day; the priests of Demeter became corrupt; and 
sexual disorder involved, as it always must, every 
conceivable other disorder in the state." 

" And what was done? " I asked. 

The Pater looked grave : " The Government 
interfered and substituted state control for in- 
dividual control. It is this that furnishes to 
Chairo and his party their strongest weapon. 
State control is abominable; institutions like ours 
are possible only in a community possessed of such 
a moral sense as prevails in these New England 
States." 

" But how could the Government undertake 
control of marriage? " 

" By an extension of our State Colony system; 
this you will understand only when you have seen 
the working of the State Colony system for your- 
self." 

One thing more I was eager to know. " What 
had the gesture of Lydia, as Chairo kissed her 
hand, meant; was it an acceptance?" I asked the 
Pater, and he answered: 

*' Just as it is no disgrace to a man that a 
woman should not return his love, so is it no dis- 
grace to a woman that she should withhold her 

50 



The Cult of Demeter 

answer. In your time a woman who did not re- 
spond affirmatively or negatively to a proposal of 
marriage was accused of playing fast and loose. 
But we do not regard it as a bad thing for a man 
to be kept waiting, or for a woman to keep him 
waiting; indeed, I am reminded of a word of one 
of your own authors who said that there was no 
better education for a man's character than the 
effort to win the love of a worthy woman. And 
so, when a man has altogether made up his mind 
that he loves a woman, he does not feel it neces- 
sary to keep his love secret till he knows whether 
the woman will accept it; on the contrary, he 
makes open confession of it as Chairo did. And the 
woman, if she is not prepared to decide, responds 
to such an act as Chairo's, with a sign of the 
cross to indicate that she is for the time being set 
apart until such time as she has prayerfully con- 
sidered. And in Lydia's case, this has a double 
signification; her choice is doubly religious, in 
that she not only has to consult her heart as to 
her love for Chairo, but also her conscience as 
to her duty to the cult." 

I was glad that the reapers began returning 
and that our conversation was brought to a close 
by their return, for I was fairly tired. Great as 
was my curiosity to know more of these singu- 

51 



The Deinetrian 

lar institutions I felt the need of thinking a 
little about them before my mind was crowded 
with further information. And so I gladly re- 
turned to the men's quarters, which were becom- 
ing crowded with those who had more right there 
than I to a plunge in the crystal pool. We were 
soon ready for lunch, and I was accompanied 
thither by Chairo, Cleon, and Ariston. 



52 



CHAFER IV 

ANNA OF ANN 

MY place at lunch was by the side of the 
Mater. I soon guessed that she was the 
wife of the patriarchal old man with 
whom I had been conversing. She had a deli- 
cious air of comfortable embonpoint, a clear skin, 
pink cheeks, and massive white hair. She was al- 
ready seated when Ariston took me to her table, 
and, moving the empty chair a little to help me 
to my seat, she said, smiling: 

" You are to sit here ; I am dreadfully anxious 
to talk to you; where on earth have you come 
from now? " 

I sat down by her, and answered : 
" I wish you could explain it to me." 
She looked me in the face and said: ''You 
look just like the rest of us, except, that only 
our priests shave"; I looked in the direction of 
Chairo inquiringly. " Oh, yes, Chairo shaves, and 
a few others who want to be peculiar; but all of 
us simple folk " 

53 



The Demetrian 

She chuckled a little, and then, bending near 
me, whispered in my ear: " I have been looking 
at your trousers! " 

I made a deprecating gesture and smiled; she 
joined me, but in a laugh so brimming over with 
merriment and so contagious that very soon all 
the table had joined but without knowing why. 
When the Mater had finished laughing and the 
others with her, Ariston said: 

*' Well, Mater, now that you've finished laugh- 
ing, perhaps you will tell us what it's all about? " 

"Indeed, I won't," answered she; and there 
was almost a wink in her innocent old eye as she 
turned to me and said: " It is a secret — isn't it? — 
a secret between us two," and she patted my hand 
as if I had been her son. 

I promised her with exaggerated solemnity 
never to reveal it, and she patted my hand again 
and added: 

" I see you'll become one of us — one of the 
Tyringham Colony; we always come together at 
every harvest time — as indeed do all the other 
colonies — only we think our colony is just a little 
bit nicer than every other." 

" And so does every other," said Ariston, 
" think itself better than the rest." 

" And so all are happy," answered the Mater 
54 



Anna of Ann 

convincingly. " But have you met your neighbor, 
Anna of Ann?" 

I turned to my right, and saw that Lydia was 
not the only beautiful woman at Tyringham. 
Anna of Ann was of a different type. Her fea- 
tures were delicate; the eye was not remarkable; 
indeed, her glance was veiled and almost disap- 
pointing; her nose was ordinary; her skin clear 
but colorless; it was assuredly in her mouth, and 
perhaps in her low forehead and clustering hair, 
that her beauty resided; and as she spoke there 
were little movements of the lips that were be- 
witching: 

" No, I have not been haymaking with Aris- 
ton's group and so we have not spoken," she said. 
" But I saw you this morning after breakfast, 
and "—she added archly—" I stared at you with 
all the others; we were dreadfully rude! But 
then, there was some excuse for us, wasn't 
there?" 

" Every excuse," I answered reassuringly. 
" But tell me, what do you do when you are not 
haymaking? " 

" What do you mean; work or play? " 

"What do you work at, and what do you 

play at? " 

" My work generally consists in attending at 

55 



The Demetrian 

the public store; I sell in the hosiery department 
at New York." 

" And what do you play at? " 

" Sculpture." 

" She's a great sculptor," volunteered Cleon, 
nodding at her from the other side of the table. 

"No, I am not," deprecated Anna; ''I am 
not recognized." 

I looked at the Mater inquiringly. 

" By ' recognized,' " said the Mater, " she 
means the state hasn't recognized her; that is to 
say, she has to do her work at the store or wher- 
ever else she is assigned during the regular three 
hours a day. When the state recognizes her — as 
it is sure to do one of these days — she will be al- 
lowed to devote all her time to sculpture." 

" I don't believe the state will ever recognize 
her," said Ariston; " she is a great deal too good. 
That Sixth is a fool!" 

" Sixth is head of the fine arts department," 
explained the Mater. " His full name is Sprague 
Sixth; six generations ago we had a great artist 
called Sprague, who was for twenty years our 
secretary of the fine arts, and one of his sons has 
borne his name ever since, until it has become a 
tradition in Massachusetts that we must have a 
Sprague at the head of our fine arts. This man 

56 



Anna of Ann 

Sprague Sixth, whom we call Sixth for short, 
doesn't believe anybody can be good at art unless 
he has studied in the state school. Now Anna 
did not show any talent until her school days were 
over and she had been assigned to work in the 
store." 

" And now there is no chance for her," said 
Ariston ironically. 

" What do you mean," exclaimed Cleon, tak- 
ing Ariston seriously, " she can be a great artist, 
without being recognized? " 

'* I am not sure I want to be recognized," said 
Anna. " If I were recognized I should have to 
spend half my day in doing dull things for the 
state to please Sixth; whereas, now one half of 
the day is spent in doing mechanical work at the 
store; the other half I have fresh for my own 
work. I am going to ask to be assigned to a fac- 
tory; for factory work is still more mechanical 
than that of the store, and I can then be more 
free to think of my own work." 

All this was very strange and illuminating. A 
sculptor asking to do factory work! 

" But won't factory work be very hard and 
brutalizing? " I asked. 

Anna looked at me, puzzled, and Ariston 
came to her rescue. 

57 



The Demetrian 

" I don't think," he said, " Anna appreciates 
your point of view. In your day all factory work 
was done purely to make money; the factories 
were uncomfortable places, and workmen had to 
work eight and ten hours a day. Now that most 
of us have to do some factory work during the 
year, inventiveness has set to work to make the 
factory comfortable, and as we all of us have to 
work for the state and we no longer have to pay 
the cost of competition, three or four hours a day 
are all that are necessary to furnish the whole 
community with the necessaries and comforts of 
life." 

" And so I can give the rest of the day to 
sculpture," said Anna. 

" Without any anxiety as to whether her sculp- 
ture will pay or not," added Ariston. 

" She just has to please herself," said the Ma- 
ter comfortably. 

" I am dreamingi " said I. 

"No, you're not," said the Mater; and she 
pinched me till I started. 

Everybody found this very funny — and so I 
took it as good-naturedly as I could. But I made 
up my mind to have a little revenge, so I asked 
the Mater quite loud as soon as they had finished 
laughing: 

58 



Anna of Ann 

" Tell me, is Lydia the only Demetrian 
here?" 

All looked shocked except Cleon, who laughed 
louder than ever, but Anna looked at him severely 
and said: 

" Cleon, I'm surprised." 

I noticed, too, a smile curl Ariston's lip. The 
Mater put a warning finger to her mouth and 
shook her head reproachfully. 

" You see," I said, with no small satisfaction 
at the confusion I had caused, " I am new to all 
these things; I have to distinguish fact from 
fancy; the sacred from the profane." 

" Of course," said Ariston, " although we have 
our domestic life in the cities, apart, every family 
having its own separate home, even there we jostle 
against one another a great deal more than you 
used in your time; and here at the colony we are 
like one large family; we have, therefore, to re- 
spect one another's opinions, and I might add — 
prejudices." He bowed here at the Mater as 
though in deference to her cult of Demeter. 
"We wouldn't be happy otherwise; and we have 
learned that after all, the highest religion is the 
highest happiness. And so each of us respects 
the religion of the other; in our heart of hearts 
we doubtless tax one another with superstition, 

59 



The Demetrian 

but we never admit it. Every cult, therefore, is 
tolerated and receives the outward respect of all." 

I could not help wondering whether this was 
true. Chairo clearly regarded the cult of Deme- 
ter as dangerous and bad; how long then would 
he tolerate it? Ariston divined my thought, for 
he added: 

" Of course, I assume that the cult involves no 
danger to the state; or to individual liberty." 

But the brows of the women darkened and I 
felt we were on dangerous ground, so I asked : 

'' And what are you going to do this after- 
noon? " 

'' We are going on with our haymaking." 

" But I thought you worked only three or four 
hours a day? " 

" Yes, that is all we owe the state ; but we 
often ask to work all day for a season in order to 
have the whole day to ourselves later. And as 
harvesting must be done within a given space of 
time, it suits our economy as well as our inclina- 
tion to work all day at this season and have Octo- 
ber to ourselves. Most of us go hunting all of 
October, and in November we meet again at the 
Eleusinian festival." 

"Hunting?" I asked; "but where do you 
hunt?" 

60 



Anna of Ann 

" Almost wherever we want, though, of course, 
this has to be arranged. Since your time the state 
has replanted forests on alf the high ground least 
suited to agriculture, and game is carefully pre- 
served there during the whole year except Octo- 
ber; which is our open season. Some hunting is 
done, too, in November and December to suit the 
convenience of those who have to work in Octo- 
ber; but it is mostly done in October." 

Lunch was by this time over and we adjourned 
to the veranda for coffee and a cigar. There we 
were joined by Chairo and others, and gradually 
I began to get some notion of the working of their 
CoUectivist State. But as their explanations left 
me in considerable bewilderment, and it was only 
when I saw the system in actual operation that I 
understood it, I shall not attempt to give an ac- 
count of our conversations, but rather describe 
the events that followed, not only for the interest 
of the events themselves, but for the light they 
threw on the problems which still remain un- 
solved for our race. 

Lydia's good-natured reproach at my idleness 
kindled in me a desire to remove the occasion of 
it, so I set myself to learn to mow, and in a very 
few days my muscles accustomed themselves to the 
work. I soon picked up a part in their favorite 

6i 



The Demetrian 

refrains and was able to join in their music as well 
as their occupations. My ardor for Lydia cooled 
when I felt its hopelessness; and I confess to an 
admiration for Chairo which justified her love 
for him. Neither of them attempted to disguise 
their desire to be alone with each other, and yet 
they never moved far from the rest of us. Ob- 
viously, Lydia had not decided between Chairo 
and Demeter. 

The Pater told me that she need not decide 
for another year, though it was likely that she 
would do so at the Eleusinian festival in Novem- 
ber. This festival, corresponding to our Thanks- 
giving Day, was held in honor of Demeter and 
Persephone, the genii of fruitfulness, whether of 
the earth or of men; and it was generally on some 
such occasion that vows were taken or missions 
renounced. 



62 



CHAPTER y 

IRENE 

I SPENT the whole harvest season at Tyring- 
ham, and when it was over I went with 
Chairo to New York in order to get some 
ocular understanding of their factory system. It 
was there that I understood one of the reasons that 
made Lydia hesitate, for I met there another 
woman — a Demetrian also — whose history had 
been intimately interwoven with Chairo's. 

Lydia had decided, much to Chairo's disap- 
pointment, that she would spend October in the 
Demetrian cloister attached to the temple. She 
said she felt the need of seclusion. It was one 
of the functions of the cloistered to attend the 
daily rite at the altar, and I often went at the sa- 
cred hour to attend the service, doubtless drawn 
by the desire to see Lydia engaged in her minis- 
tration. One afternoon, as I sat in the shadow of 
a pillar, I was struck by the singular majesty of 
one of the ministrants. She headed the procession 



The Demetrian 

of women who carried the censers, and it was she 
who offered the incense at the altar. 

I was living with Chairo and Ariston in bach- 
elor quarters and described the priestess to the 
latter on my return home. Ariston's face flushed 
as he answered: "That must be Irene of Tania; 
she is a Demetrian and is the mother of a boy by 
Chairo." 

Noticing that my question had moved Ariston 
I was unwilling to push my inquiries; but after a 
few moments of silence Ariston, who after his 
laconic answer had lowered his eyes to the book 
he was reading, looked up and seeing the question 
in my eyes that I had refrained from putting into 
words, added: 

" Her story is a sad one. She was selected by 
Demeter not on account of any special gifts, but 
because of her splendid combination of qualities; 
she was a type; she represented a standard it was 
useful to reproduce. Chairo for similar reasons 
was selected as her bridegroom; she chose to know 
him and became deeply enamored. How should 
she not? He remained devoted to her until her 
boy was weaned and then did not renew his vows. 
She bore his decision with dignity; indeed, so well 
did she disguise her disappointment that for a 
long time no one knew whether it was Chairo or 

64 



Irene 

herself who had decided to separate. But when 
Chairo began to show his love for Lydia, Irene 
sickened; there was no apparent reason for it and 
no acute disease; her appetite failed and she lost 
strength and color." 

Ariston paused, as though he were going over 
it all in his mind, unwilling to give it utterance. 
Finally, he arose and walked to the window, and 
after looking out a little, turned to me and said: 

" The fact is, I was consumedly in love with 
her myself; her illness gave me an excuse for be- 
ing a great deal with her, and at last in a moment 
of folly — for I might have guessed — I told her of 
my love. I shall never forget her face when I 
did so: the sadness on it deepened; she held out 
her hand to me and said: 'I am fond of you, 
Ariston — and am grateful! But I love Chairo 
and shall never love anyone but him.' " Ariston's 
voice became hoarse as he repeated Irene's words. 
But he paused, cleared his throat, and went on. 

" Since then she has made a great effort over 
herself. She was told that she was allowing sor- 
row to unfit her for her duty to her child, and that 
she was suffering from no malady beyond that 
most pernicious ot all maladies — the malady of 
the will. She collected herself, regained control, 
and has now recovered her health — and all her 

65 



The Demetrian 

beauty. Was there ever beauty greater than 
her's?" 

" She is very beautiful — more than beautiful 
— she filled me with a kind of wonder. But tell 
me, won't she object to your having told me her 
secret? " 

"It is not a secret; these things are not re- 
garded as secrets ; we hold it unworthy to blab of 
such things, but we never make an effort to con- 
ceal them. Often since then Irene has spoken of 
Chairo in such a manner as to leave no doubt as 
to her feelings for him; and yet she has probably 
never in terms admitted it to anyone but me. In 
confiding to you my love for her, she would not 
complain at my also confiding to you her love for 
him." 

Ariston's simplicity filled my heart with ten- 
derness for him. 

I went to him, put my hands on his shoulders, 
and said: 

" I am sorry for you." 

For a moment he seemed taken aback by this 
expression of sympathy; but when our eyes met 
his were dimmed. . In a moment, however, he had 
recovered control, and said: 

" It doesn't make any difference in one way. 
I see her still; and one of these days she will be 

66 



Irene 

sorry for me and become my wife; she will then 
end by loving me. I mean to work to this end; 
the hope of attaining all this gives me courage." 

It seemed all the worse to me that Ariston, 
with his gayety and humor, should be in his heart 
so sad. And yet, if it was to be, better that it 
should come to one who had a fund of joyousness 
within himself, on which he could draw. 

The next day Lydia sent word to Ariston that 
she would like to see him, and Ariston suggested 
that I should go with him to the cloister. " I 
shall, of course," he said, " wish to see Lydia alone 
for a little, but you will have an opportunity of 
seeing the cloister and what they do there." 

The cloister of Demeter and all the institu- 
tions which clustered around it were situated in 
the neighborhood of what was in my time Madi- 
son Square. All the buildings between Twen- 
tieth Street and Thirty-fourth Street, north and 
south, and between Sixth Avenue and Fourth 
Avenue, east and west, had been cleared away; 
and upon the cleared space had been constructed 
a building dedicated to the cult. The temple of 
Demeter, closely resembling the Pantheon, was 
surrounded by a grove of ilex trees. At a short 
distance from the temple and connected with it 
by a columned arcade, was the cloister, built also 

67 



The Demetrian 

of white marble, around a court carpeted with 
lawn; this cloister was the dwelling place of the 
priestesses of Demeter and of all those women 
who were either in retreat or in novitiate. A short 
distance from the cloister was a large building, 
similar to the other large buildings of which New 
York now mainly consisted. Twenty stories in 
height, covering acres of ground and built around 
a large open court, these buildings were no longer 
open to the objection alleged against them in my 
time, owing to the fact that they were now re- 
moved from one another by large spaces planted 
with trees. This particular building was devoted 
to the education of youth, and particularly all 
children who, for any reason, became what was 
termed " children of the state." The building 
was so large that it permitted of a running track 
within the court of four laps to the mile. New 
York had been transformed by the construction 
of these enormous buildings, each one of which 
constituted practically a city of itself. Some of 
them, such as the one in which I was living with 
Ariston, were devoted exclusively to bachelors 
and childless widowers; others were entirely for 
unmarried women and childless widows; others, 
on the contrary, were set aside for the use of fami- 
lies and consisted of apartments of different sizes. 

68 



Irene 

Although the inmates of these buildings con- 
stantly met after the fulfillment of their daily task, 
every family had as separate a home as in my day. 
Almost every building had a dramatic corps of 
its own, a musical choir of its own, a football club, 
a tennis club, and other athletic, amusement, and 
educational clubs of its own, and all these clubs 
contributed to the amusement one of the other, 
each colony contributing its share to the enjoy- 
ment of the whole community. 

Lydia was in the hospital ward of the state 
children's building, where at last we found her, 
for though in retreat she was by no means idle. 
She was not discountenanced when she saw us; 
nor would she even allow me to leave them, but 
told Ariston what she had to say simply and in a 
few words. It was this: She had come to the 
cloister, she said, very largely for the purpose of 
seeing Irene there; she took it for granted that 
Irene's duties at the temple would bring them to- 
gether. Lydia feared, however, that Irene was 
avoiding her, and wanted Ariston to arrange a 
meeting between them. 

Ariston promised to do this, and then we all 
three vv^alked through the buildings, Lydia taking 
great pride in her share of the work there. 

Ariston did not find it easy to arrange this 
69 



The Demetrian 

meeting. Irene freely confessed that she did not 
want to speak to Lydia at this moment; she was 
unwilling to give her reasons, but we both easily 
guessed them. Irene, however, did not refuse to 
see Lydia and promised to go to her on the fol- 
lowing day. 

The following day was the first of the Eleu- 
sinian festival. In the daily rite, incense was of- 
fered to the goddess as a token of sacrifice, but 
at the Eleusinian festival there was added a note 
of thanksgiving to the rite, which substituted per- 
fumes and flowers in lieu of incense. It was the 
privilege of Irene to select from among the min- 
istrants the one who was to hand her the gifts 
brought by the rest, and it was from the hand of 
the chosen one that Irene took the gifts and laid 
them upon the altar. 

On this opening day Irene selected Lydia for 
this privilege, for she meant this joint ministra- 
tion at the altar to serve as prelude and prepara- 
tion for their meeting. The temple was crowded. 

Lydia trembled a little as she followed Irene 
to the altar; a priest stood on either side as the 
priestesses, postulants, and novices of the Deme- 
trian procession went up the steps to it. Arrived 
at the foot of the altar they formed a group about 
it, dividing one-half on one side, the other half 

70 



Irene 

on the other; between the altar and the body of 
the temple stood only Irene and Lydia. 

Lydia took the perfumes and handed them to 
Irene, who sprinkled them first upon the altar, 
then upon the priests, and then toward the con- 
gregation ; then she took the flowers, some of them 
in vases, others in wreaths, and handed them to 
Irene, who arranged them upon the altar; when 
the last gift had been taken there Irene kneeled 
and Lydia kneeled by her side. There was a deep 
silence in the temple. At this point in the ritual 
there was a pause, during which it was the privi- 
lege of the postulants and novices to have a prayer 
offered in case of special anxiety. Irene, though 
unsolicited, at this moment offered the following 
prayer: 

" Mother of Fruitfulness, to her who now asks 
for thy special grace, grant that she may neither 
accept thy mission hastily nor reject it without 
consideration; for thy glory, O Mother, is the 
glory of all thy people." 

There was a word in this prayer which did 
not fail to strike the attention of every worship- 
per in the temple that day. The words of the 
ritual were " Grant that she may neither accept 
the mission unworthily.''^ Irene had substituted 

71 



The Demetrian 

" hastily " for the word " unworthily." She had 
paused at this word and given it special em- 
phasis. It was usual for the Demetrian proces- 
sion to remain kneeling after the service was over 
and the congregation dismissed; and it happened 
that the procession and the priests left the tem- 
ple, leaving Irene and Lydia alone there. For 
Irene did not rise with the other Demetrians, and 
Lydia, feeling that she had been chosen as min- 
istrant for a purpose, remained beside Irene. The 
two knelt alone in the temple, Irene praying and 
Lydia waiting on her. At last Irene arose and 
Lydia also, and they both walked out into the 
covered way. 

Neither spoke until they were in the seclusion 
of the cloistered court. Then Irene said: "You 
wanted to speak to me, Lydia." 

" And you have been avoiding me," said 
Lydia. 

" Yes," answered Irene. " You have a matter 
to decide regarding which you have already 
guessed I am not altogether unconcerned." 

Lydia lowered her voice as she said: "You 
still love Chairo?" 

Irene answered in a voice still lower, but firm, 
" I do." 

For a few minutes they paced the cloister. 
72 



Irene 

Lydia was trying to decide how to confess her 
own secret, but she did not find the words. At 
last Irene said: 

" When the mission of Demeter was first ten- 
dered to me I was eighteen, and, although I had 
often preferred certain of my playmates to others, 
I had not known love. The honor of the mission 
made a great impression, and as it slowly came 
upon me that I was chosen to make of myself a 
sacrifice, the beauty of it filled my heart with hap- 
piness. It hardly occurred to me possible to re- 
fuse the mission; I was absorbed by one single 
desire — to make myself worthy of it. I thought 
very little about the sacrifice itself. I had the 
legend of Eros and Psyche in my mind; one day 
I should hear heavenly music and be approached 
as it were by an unknown god. And passing 
from the pagan to the Christian myth, I saw the 
Immaculate Conception of Murillo — that of the 
young maiden at the Prado in Madrid — and I felt 
lifted into the ecstasy of a mystic motherhood. So 
until I accepted the mission at the Eleusinian fes- 
tival I lived in a rapture — the days passing in the 
studies and ministrations of our novitiate, the 
nights in dreamless sleep. But once the vows 
taken and the bridal night fixed, there came upon 
me a revulsion as it were from the outside and 

73 



The Demetrian 

took control of my entire being so as to make me 
understand what the ancients meant when they 
described certain persons as ' possessed by an evil 
spirit.' The thought of the approaching crisis 
was a pure horror to me. I lost my appetite and 
sleep ; or, if I slept, it was to dream a nightmare. 
Neither our priest nor priestess could console me, 
the legend of Eros and Psyche became abomin- 
able, the Immaculate Conception absurd, and, be- 
lieve me, Lydia, nothing but pride kept me to my 
word. It was a bad pride, the pride that could 
not look forward to the humiliation of refusing a 
sacrifice I had once accepted. That pride held 
me in a vice and accomplished what religion itself 
would never have accomplished." 

Irene paused — and Lydia passed her arm 
around Irene's waist as they continued to pace the 
solitary cloister, whispering " Go on " in Irene's 
ear. 

" You know the rest," continued Irene. " The 
unknown god came to me in my terror and con- 
verted my terror into love; and as I look back at 
it now I am struck by two things: One, how un- 
accountable and unfounded the terror was; the 
other, how little my pride would have sufficed to 
overcome it had the terror been enforced by love." 

Lydia looked at Irene askance. 
74 



Irene 

" I mean," said Irene, "love for some one 
else!" 

A sigh broke from Lydia. This was what she 
had been waiting for. 

" And you think," said Lydia, " that a woman 
should not accept the mission if she already 
loves? " 

" I don't think it; I know it! " 

Lydia felt a burden taken from her^the bur- 
den of doubt as well as the burden of sacrifice. 
But suddenly she remembered that Irene in ad- 
vising the refusal of the mission was making a 
sacrifice of her own love, and she said very low 
in Irene's ear: 

" But, Irene, it's Chairo " 

'^ I know," answered Irene, " and this is all the 
greater reason for refusing. Had you loved a 
lesser man you might have doubted the trueness 
of your love, but having loved Chairo once you 
can never cease to love him. I speak who know " ; 
and Irene turned on Lydia a look of immortal 
sorrow. 

But the tumult of emotion in Lydia's heart 
could no longer be restrained. Her own great 
love for Chairo, her inability to sacrifice it, con- 
trasted with the dignity of Irene's renunciation, 
started a torrent of tears. She fell on Irene's 

75 



The Demetrian 

neck and sobbed there. Irene's strong heart beat 
against her's as they stood in close embrace under 
the cloister, and calmed Lydia. She slowly disen- 
gaged herself, and looking into Irene's face, said: 

" And so you tell me to refuse the mission? " 

" You cannot do otherwise." 

Then Lydia kissed Irene and withdrew. 

Lydia went to her chamber and sat in the win- 
dow seat, looking across the lawn to the temple 
of Demeter. 

What did it all mean? She had felt the beauty 
of the mission; had glowed at the thought of sac- 
rifice; had taken pride in it. But such was the 
strength of her love for Chairo that so long as he 
was in her mind the mission seemed a sacrilege 
and her heart had responded to Irene's advice 
with a bound of gratitude and delight. And yet 
now as she looked at the white columns of the 
temple at which she would never again be worthy 
to minister, an unutterable sadness came over her, 
as though she were parting from the dearest and 
most precious thing in her existence. 

She was unwilling to mingle that night with 
the other novices, and retired without seeing 
them. The night was filled with conflicting 
dreams and she woke up next morning with the 
guilty conviction that she had committed a crime. 

76 



CHAPTER VI 

NEAERA 

MEANWHILE I was becoming ac- 
quainted with Lydia's family and their 
friends. They occupied a building ex- 
tending from Fifth Avenue to Lenox Avenue and 
from 125th Street to 130th Street. It had a large 
cloistered court within which was a beautiful 
garden, consisting of a grove inclosing a lawn 
bordered by flowers. It was usual for the inmates 
of the building to meet for tea in the grove on the 
border of the lawn. They divided themselves into 
groups, each with his own arrangement of chairs, 
hammocks, and tables, which reminded me of some 
of our fetes champetres. Within the grove were 
openings for such games as tennis — of which they 
had an infinite variety — and also for stages on 
which they rehearsed concerts and plays. The 
hours between five and seven were by common 
consent surrendered to social amusements. At 
seven there was an adjournment to the swimming 

77 



The Demetrian 

bath and gymnasium with which every building 
was provided. Eight was the usual hour for din- 
ner, this meal being usually reserved to the family; 
and the evening was spent very much as with us, 
either at some theater or at home. The dinner 
party was a thing almost unknown. In the first 
place, the principal meal, and the only one which 
required much preparation, was in the middle of 
the day. The evening meal at eight was never 
more than our high tea, the object of this system 
being to lighten domestic service. In the second 
place, the unmarried, who did not live with their 
families, generally dined together in the common 
hall; and if members of a family wished to dine 
at the common table they could at any time do so. 
Members of different families frequently dined 
at one another's domestic table but upon terms of 
intimacy; the conventional dinner party had be- 
come ridiculous, no one having the means or feel- 
ing the necessity to make a display. The more 
thrifty and the best managers, who were skillful 
at dressing food and chose to apply their leisure 
to securing exquisite wines, often entertained ; but 
out of the hospitality that enjoys sharing good 
things with others, rather than the pride which 
seeks to impress a neighbor by ostentation of 
wealth. 

78 



Neaera 

I learned later that, although the conditions I 
have described still prevailed, the state was pass- 
ing out of the pure Collectivism with which it 
started; that numerous factories had been started 
by private enterprise, partly to supply things not 
supplied by the state, partly because of dissatisfac- 
tion at state manufacture. Although private en- 
terprise could only count on voluntary labor dur- 
ing one-half of every day it had already assumed 
vast proportions, had given rise to considerable 
private wealth and was modifying the social con- 
ditions that resulted from primitive Collectivism. 

I also perceived that although many of the 
problems of life, such as pauperism and prostitu- 
tion, had been solved by the introduction of Col- 
lectivism, nevertheless it had not brought that 
total disappearance of ill feeling which prophets 
of Collectivism had promised us in my time. On 
the contrary, I soon discovered that the inmates 
of every building were split up into cliques as 
devoted to gossip as in our day, the only difference 
being that they were determined by individual 
preference and political divisions and not by pov- 
erty or wealth; perhaps it might be said, that the 
absence of the wealth standard raised the level 
of the social struggle, deciding it by personal ex- 
cellence and attractiveness, rather than along con- 

79 



The Demetrian 

ventional lines. Every man and woman knew 
that popularity — and even political influence — 
could be secured only by these, and this knowl- 
edge checked many an angry word and prompted 
many an act of kindness. Chaff, too, and even 
sallies of wit with a dash of malice in them were 
borne with more good humor than in our day; be- 
cause we all of us love to laugh, and generally the 
more if it is at the expense of a neighbor, provided 
only there be no intention to wound ; so that those 
who bore banter well were as popular as those 
who best could set it going. 

And yet there were some very foolish and 
malicious people among them. I remember a 
foolish one particularly. Aunt Tiny they called 
her. She was an aunt of Lydia and Cleon. Lydia 
First, as Lydia's mother was called, had married 
twice. Her first husband had not known how to 
keep her love and they had separated after her 
first child was weaned. Then she had married a 
second time; her second husband was an excellent 
man but inferior to her; he had not been able to 
impress his personality nor his name upon the 
family, and so the children of the second marriage 
as well as the child of the first had taken the 
name of the mother. The second husband had 
died some years before the beginning of this story; 

80 



Neaera 

but a sister of his — Aunt Tiny — had remained at- 
tached to the family. She was very small and 
plump; her hair was of a sickly yellow color and 
so thin on the top of her head that the scalp was 
plainly visible; she wore a perpetual smile of self- 
satisfaction which expressed the essential feature 
of her character; it was impossible for her to en- 
tertain the thought that she was plain or unat- 
tractive; her happiness depended, on the contrary, 
upon the conviction that no one could resist her 
charms did she only decide to exercise them. Age 
did not dull this keen self-admiration; on the 
contrary, as the mirror told her that lengthening 
teeth contributed little to an already meaningless 
mouth, or wrinkles little to browless eyes, she felt 
the need of faith in herself grow the more, and her 
efforts by seductive glances to elicit from others 
the expression of regard so indispensable to her 
happiness redoubled. 

I first saw her in Lydia's drawing-room. I 
had found it empty on entering, but presently 
there came into it a little body with a hand 
stretched up, in her eagerness to be cordial, at 
the level of her head, and behind it a smirking 
face bubbling over with the effort of maidenly 
reserve to keep within bounds an overflowing 
heart. 

8i 



The Demetrian 

"Welcome to New York!" she said. "I'm 
so glad to see you! " 

She lisped a little, and as she emphasized the 
word " tho " she shook her head in a little con- 
fiding way, and the smirk deepened into a nervous 
grin. 

I had been so long in New York that I felt 
her welcome a little superfluous, but it was part 
of the doctrine, which kept her happiness alive, 
that New York had not completed a welcome to 
a stranger until it had been expressed by her. 

I was a little confused by her effusiveness, for 
I did not wish to offend an aunt of Lydia's, and 
yet I felt it impossible to respond in proper pro- 
portion to her advances. 

" You must be Aunt Tiny," I said. " I have 
often heard of you." 

I refrained from telling her what I had heard; 
how she had constituted one of the favorite types 
for Ariston's mimicry; how, indeed, Ariston had 
gone through the very performance I had just 
witnessed, in which the uplifted hand, the smirk, 
and the lisping " tho " had lost nothing in Aris- 
ton's art. 

"Dear Lydia!" she exclaimed; and in the 
pronunciation of the " d " in " dear " she put ex- 
aggerated significance and added a shake of her 

82 



Neaera 

head. She wore little corkscrew curls; every time 
she shook her head the curls quivered with sup- 
pressed agitation. 

" Do sit down," she added — with unnecessary 
emphasis in the " do." 

There was nothing to be done but to resign 
myself; she drew up a chair quite close to mine 
and settled down in it as an army might settle 
down for a Trojan siege. 

" Do tell me — I am dying to know — how did 
it happen and what do you think of us? You 
don't look very dif^ferent from us ; you remind me 
of Chairo, and he is thought very handsome " — 
her head and curls shook again and she giggled 
consciously — ^^ very, very handsome!" She gig- 
gled still more and her eyes assumed a coy mean- 
ingfulness that increased my discomfort. 

I have never been able to understand why this 
poor little woman — perfectly innocent of any real 
ability to harm — should have been able to cause 
me so much annoyance; but there was something 
in her glance that made me wish to throw things 
at her. 

" And Lydia — isn't Lydia beautiful? " There 
was something caressing in her tone as she puck- 
ered up her lips and dwelt on the word " beauti- 
ful " that exasperated me again. 

83 



The Demetrian 

" What do you suppose she is going to do? Is 
she going to accept the mission or marry Chairo? 
She is a great flirt, you know; quite a terrible 
flirt! But / shouldn't talk of flirting! " — and she 
giggled again the same suggestive giggle. " We 
mustn't be hard on flirts, must we? " 

This appeal to me, as though I were already 
particeps criminis, would have led me to protest, 
but she did not allow me the opportunity, for she 
continued: 

'' But she has not been fair to Chairo; a girl 
ought to know when to make up her mind " — she 
became very serious now — " / always knew where 
to stop; no man ever had the right to reproach 
me:' 

I at last could agree with her and I smiled 
approval. She seemed delighted. 

" I am sure we are going to be great friends, 
and you will never misunderstand me, will you? " 

I protested that I never would, and was re- 
lieved by the entrance of Lydia First, who sug- 
gested our going to tea in the grove. 

On our way there as we passed the main en- 
trance a detachment of militia — some dozen or so 
— entered, divided into two columns, and stood at 
arms while between them passed a woman some- 
what more heavily draped than usual. I asked 

84 



Neaera 

the meaning of this, and was told that she was a 
Demetrian. 

" But why the military escort? " asked I. 

" Demetrians are always attended by an es- 
cort unless they particularly desire to be spared 
the honor; many would avoid it but the cult dis- 
penses with it only as a special favor and for a 
limited time." 

'* I cannot see the use of it," lisped Aunt Tiny. 

But Lydia First looked sadly at her, and turn- 
ing to me, said : 

" All of us do not understand the importance 
of upholding the dignity of the cult. It is the 
very key-stone of social order and we cannot pay 
too much honor to those by whose sacrifice it is 
preserved." 

We were joined at the grove by quite a party; 
Ariston came later; and among others I remarked 
a young girl with bright black eyes who was de- 
scribed to me as a journalist. It took me some 
time to become accustomed to their habit of de- 
scribing a person's occupation as that adopted for 
recreation. The work they did for the state was 
not regarded as a matter of particular concern; it 
was the w^ork they selected for their leisure hours 
which marked their character and bent. Neaera 
had been first attached to the official journal of 

^5 



The Demetrian 

the state; but she had joined Chairo's political 
party and her work on the journal betrayed her 
partisanship, so the state assigned her work in a 
factory, and she devoted her leisure therefore to 
the paper edited by Chalro. 

As leader of the opposition Chairo was, by 
an established tradition, relieved of all work for 
the state. Every political party representing a 
designated proportion of the voters of the state 
could elect a certain number of representatives 
upon the plan of minority representation, and the 
leaders of the opposition were by virtue of such 
election released from working for the state. No 
law had enacted this, but it had become the rule 
by the operation of the principle of noblesse ob- 
lige. The representatives who neither belonged 
to the ministry nor were recognized as leaders of 
the opposition did not enjoy this privilege, except 
during the sessions of the legislature. But it was 
recognized that the minority parties in opposition 
had as much work to do as the party in power, and 
public opinion approved the plan which gave to 
the recognized leaders of these parties the great- 
est opportunit)'" possible for exercising vigilance. 
The number of these leaders being small, there 
was no fear that the plan would give rise to idle- 
ness on a scale to be feared, and the temptation of 

86 



Neaera 

the government to annoy leaders of the opposition 
by the allotment to them of onerous tasks, or that 
of ascribing such motives to the government, was 
thereby eliminated. 

So Chairo had his whole time free for the or- 
ganization of his so-called Radical party, and he 
published, with the assistance of his supporters, a 
paper entitled Liberty^ to which Neaera devoted 
all her spare time. She was uncommonly pretty, 
but like all these women, was capable of sudden 
changes of face and manner which, until I became 
accustomed to it, constantly surprised me; though, 
indeed, I remember having noticed it in some of 
the women of my own day whom we described 
then as " advanced." Neaera was already seated 
at a small tea table with a young man called Bal- 
bus, also a member of the Liberty staff, when we 
arrived and was engaged in earnest conversation 
with him. She looked at me scrutinizingly when 
I was presented to her, neither rising nor offering 
me her hand, and acknowledged the presentation 
only by a little conventional smile. There was 
something that seemed to me ill-bred in her keep- 
ing her seat when Lydia First and the rest of us 
arrived; but I soon discovered that Neaera was 
a person of no small importance, and expected 
attention from others which she did not herself 

87 



The Demetrian ^ 

concede. Our party seated itself about an ad- 
joining table and presently Neaera called to 
me: 

" Xenos, are you going to lecture at our 
hall?" 

I had been invited by the Pater to lecture on 
the social, political, and economic conditions of 
the twentieth century. He had assumed that such 
a lecture would tend to strengthen the conserva- 
tive and coUectivist government; and Chairo had 
asked me to lecture at his hall in the hope, on the 
contrary, that it could be made to serve his own 
cause. I had been told that these lectures were 
usually followed by an open discussion, and I 
knew that it was from this discussion that both 
parties hoped to draw arguments to sustain their 
views respectively. Fearing, therefore, to be- 
come involved in their political animosities I had 
not yet decided whether I would lecture or not, 
so I answered: 

" I am not sure; I feel a little the need of un- 
derstanding your own conditions better than I do, 
before undertaking to contrast them with those of 
our day." 

" We'll undertake to explain our conditions," 
she said, with an oblique smile at Balbus, " if 
you'll let us." 



Neaera 

" I could wish for no pleasanter instruction," 
I answered. 

" But I see you have Aunt Tiny," retorted she 
maliciously. 

" Oh, I haven't taken him in hand yet," said 
Aunt Tiny, taking the suggestion au grand seri- 
eux, " but," she added encouragingly, " I will! I 
will!" 

Balbus threw his head back and laughed out- 
rageously. 

" What are you laughing at, you goose! " said 
Neaera. 

" Let him laugh and enjoy himself," answered 
Aunt Tiny quickly, by way of discarding the 
thought that there could be in his laughter any- 
thing disobliging for herself. 

And Balbus, taking the cue, said: 

*' We don't want Aunt Tiny to take you in 
hand for she is terribly persuasive " — the poor 
little thing giggled delightedly — " and we want 
you on our side." 

" I don't mean to be on either side," I an- 
swered. " I am your guest, and, as such, must 
confine myself to stating facts; you will have to 
draw your own conclusions." 

" That's right," said Neaera. " All we want 
are facts; the conclusion will be clear enough. 

89 



The Demetrian 

For example, in your time, every man could 
choose his own occupation." 

" Undoubtedly," answered I. 

" And was not subjected to the humiliation of 
working in a factory because he would not be 
convenient to the party in control ! " flashed out 
Neaera. 

I nodded my head gravely in approval. 

" Imagine any of the writers of your day com- 
pelled to work in a factory — Emerson, Browning, 
Longfellow! — and Tennyson — imagine Tennyson 
working in a factory! " 

"Abominable!" responded Balbus. "Abom- 
inable and absurd! " 

" Wasn't Burns a plough-boy? " said Ariston, 
" And Shakespeare a play-actor? " 

" A second-rate play-actor, too," echoed Lydia 
First, " and ended by lending money at usurious 
interest! " 

" He chose to be that," retorted Balbus. 
" What we are fighting for is the right to choose 
our calling." 

"But haven't you chosen yours?" asked I. 
" Isn't journalism of your choosing? " 

" But I have to work at the state factory at 
the bidding of the state," answered Balbus, " for 
half of every day." 

90 



Neaera 

I could not help comparing his lot with my 
own in Boston. I had never enjoyed the practice 
of law; indeed, I had adopted the profession be- 
cause my father had a practice to hand down to 
me. And as I sat day after day listening to the 
often fancied grievances of my clients, their petty 
ambitions, narrow animosities, and, particularly 
in divorce cases, to the nasty disputes of their 
domestic life, I often felt as though my profession 
converted me into a sort of moral sewer into 
which every client poured his contribution. Had 
I really been free when I chose to devote my 
whole life to so pitiful a business! 

" Some part of the day," I answered, thinking 
aloud, " must, I suppose, be devoted to the secur- 
ing of food and clothing. In the savage state — 
in which some people contend liberty is most 
complete — the whole day is practically devoted 
to it. In our state it was much the same, except 
that a few were exempt because they made the 
many work for them. But only a very few en- 
joyed the privilege of idleness — or shall we call it 
' liberty ' ? " 

" No," answered Neaera, " it Is quite unneces- 
sary to confuse things; liberty is one thing and 
idleness is another. We want the liberty to choose 
our work — not the license to refuse it." 

91 



The Demetrian 

'' Liberty, then," said Ariston, " is our license; 
and license is other people's liberty! " 

" Ingenious," retorted Neaera, " but not cor- 
rect. Can't you see the difference between choos- 
ing work and refusing it? " 

" Certainly," answered Ariston. " The work 
I should choose would be lying on my back and 
' thinking delicate thoughts,' like Hecate. The 
work I should refuse would be factory work, like 

JOM." • 

Neaera did not like to find herself without an 
answer; so she covered her defeat by taking a 
flower out of her bosom and throwing it at Aris- 
ton, who, picking it up, kissed it and fastened it 
to a fold of his chiton. Just then a strain, that 
reminded me of our negro melodies, being wafted 
to us through the trees, Balbus exclaimed, " Now, 
Neaera, a dance! " 

She sprang up at once and began moving 
rhythmically to the music. It was a strange and 
beautiful dffnce, that had in it some of the quaint 
movement of a negro breakdown, and yet the 
gayety and grace of a Lydian measure. 

Balbus clapped his hands to accentuate the 
broken time, and we all joined him; Neaera, stim- 
ulated by a murmur of applause, gave a signifi- 
cance to her movements; danced up to Ariston, 

92 



Neaera 

then flinging her hands out at him in mock aver- 
sion, danced away again; next reversing her step 
danced back to him, and, snatching the flower out 
of his chiton, tripped triumphantly off, throwing 
her head up in elation; and to increase Ariston's 
spite she made as though she would give it to 
Balbus; but upon his holding out his hand for it, 
danced away from him, and after raising hopes in 
others of our group by tentative movements in one 
direction and another, finally fixed her bright eyes 
on me, danced hither and thither as though un- 
certain, and then finally brought it to me, and 
daintily pressing it to her lips, put it with both 
hands and a pretty air of resolution into mine. 



93 



CHAPTER VII 

A TRAGIC DENOUEMENT 

LYDIA could not disembarrass herself of 
the feeling of guilt with which she awoke 
after her interview with Irene. She went 
to the temple for help and knelt before the story 
of Demeter's sorrows, which was told in sweeping 
frescoes on its walls. Chance so happened that 
she found herself before that part of the story 
which described the goddess forgetting her own 
sorrow in her devotion to the sick child of the 
woodman in his hut. The artist, in the reaction 
from the Greek method of treating this story 
which marked the narrative of Ovid as contrasted 
with that of Homer, had dwelt upon the humble 
conditions of the poor hut in which the light of 
Demeter's golden hair shone like a beneficent 
aureole; and the nascent maternal instinct in 
Lydia vibrated to the beauty of Demeter's task. 
Was she to renounce this highest standard of 
maternity? What though she did love Chairo, 

94 



A Tragic Denouement 

was it not this very love which the goddess bade 
her renounce? And was not the greater the love 
the nobler the sacrifice? 

She returned to the cloister weary with the 
struggle and strove to forget it by devoting her- 
self to the duties of the hospital. As she cared 
for a sick child there, the fresco in the temple be- 
fore which she had that morning kneeled came 
back to her, and in the memory of that hour and 
in the love that went out to the child she was 
nursing she found consolation. 

But perhaps she was most influenced by a cer- 
tain capacity for passive resistance in her, which 
unconsciously set her upon opposing the inclina- 
tion to yield, whether to her love for Chairo or to 
the pleading of the priest. She could refuse to 
yield to both more easily than decide to yield to 
either. And so, many days passed in the valley 
of indecision before she was lifted out of it by an 
unexpected event. 

A novice came to her one morning and bade 
her go to Irene, who had asked for her. She 
had not seen Irene since the day they had spoken 
in the cloister and she had wondered; but some- 
thing in her had secretly been satisfied. Irene 
would have challenged her to decide, and this was 
just what she was not prepared to do. 

95 



The Demetrian 

As she followed the novice to Irene's rooms 
the novice had told her that Irene was very ill and 
had moaned all night, begging for Lydia. In- 
quiry elicited that Irene was threatened and per- 
haps was actually suffering from congestion of 
the brain, and that she had been confined to her 
rooms ever since she had ministered with Lydia 
in the temple. When Lydia approached Irene's 
rooms a nurse stopped her by saying that Irene 
had just fallen into a sleep — the first for a fort- 
night — and must not be awakened. So Lydia re- 
mained in the sitting room, peeping occasionally 
through the curtain that separated it from the 
room in which Irene slept. For many hours 
Irene remained motionless, but at last as Lydia 
stood holding aside the curtain, Irene opened her 
eyes; her face was flushed; she sprang up in her 
bed, leaning on one hand, and glared at Lydia 
with eyes that lacked discourse of reason. Then, 
suddenly, she seemed to recognize her and a 
shriek rent the room and sent Lydia staggering 
back against the nurse who stood behind her. 
Putting both her hands over her eyes and ears 
Lydia dropped the curtain between herself and 
the raving Irene; but no hand could keep her 
from hearing the words that came through the 
curtain and pierced her brain: 

96 



A Tragic Denouement 

"Go away! Go away! " shrieked Irene. "You 
have taken him from me! Stolen him! " 

Irene's shriek sounded to Lydia like the crack 
of doom. Then came the words, " Stolen him," 
in the voice of the accusing angel — and as if it 
were in answer to her own shrinking gesture of 
protest behind the curtain, she heard Irene shriek- 
ingly repeat: "Stolen, yes, stolen!" 

The nurse put Lydia into a chair and went to 
Irene; she found her risen from the bed, and, 
shrouded in her curtain of blue-black hair, with 
lunatic eyes, she was advancing slowly to the room 
where Lydia sat. When Irene saw the nurse 
she said, in low grave accents, " Not you — not 
you!" and then with menacing significance added, 
almost in a whisper, " The other! " 

The nurse tried to stop her and urge her back 
to her bed, but Irene swept her away with a single 
movement of her arm, and moved to the curtain 
which separated her from Lydia. But Lydia had 
by this time recovered control of herself; she knew 
that a maniac was approaching and she arose to 
await her. Irene pushed aside the curtain and con- 
fronted Lydia standing in the middle of the room, 
motionless and rigid as though changed to stone. 

"Don't stand there, brazen-faced!" shrieked 
Irene. "Kneel — I say, kneel!" 

97 



The Demetrian 

But Lydia stood her ground unflinchingly. 

Then Irene burst into a furious laugh: " Great 
mother," she began mockingly, and Lydia had to 
stand and listen while the maniac, with lurid eyes 
and frantic gesture, recited the most sacred of the 
prayers to Demeter — the prayer in which daily 
the vestal repeats her vows ; but as the prayer came 
to a close the light went out of Irene's eyes, the 
fury out of her gesture; she slowly bent down 
upon her knees, and the last words of the prayer 
were, in a voice sinking to a whisper, addressed 
to Lydia as though she had been the goddess her- 
self. 

When Irene's voice died away it seemed as 
though the paroxysm was over; she remained 
kneeling, with her head bowed upon her breast. 

Then Lydia thought to lift her up, and bent 
down to her. Irene looked up suddenly and 
shrieked as she recognized Lydia; she frantically 
waved her hands before her face as though to rid 
her eyes of the spectacle, and Lydia resumed her 
erect posture again. 

By this time the nurse had returned to the 
room and tried to lead Irene away. At first she 
succeeded, but suddenly Irene swept her away, 
and confronted Lydia again: 

" It hurts here," she said, clutching at her 
98 



A Tragic Denouement 

heart. " You'll know," she added, and laughed 
harshly. "You'll know!" she repeated, and 
throwing up her hands she clutched the air; then 
in an agony of paroxysm she whispered again in 
a faltering voice, " You'll know " — and suddenly 
sank a huddled heap upon the floor. 

Lydia and the nurse ran to her and lifted 
her back upon the bed, and from that moment 
Lydia did not leave her side. For many days life 
hovered on the edge of Irene's lips, sometimes 
appearing to take flight altogether, and again re- 
turning to reanimate the clay. And Lydia with 
anguish in her heart bent over her night and day. 

At last a crisis came and Irene fell into a pro- 
found and restful sleep; the fever left her, and the 
pulse slowly recovered regularity and strength; 
she seemed to recognize no one, and it was ex- 
pected that for some weeks she would probably re- 
main unaware of those around her. Lydia was 
advised to absent herself, lest to Irene, on recover- 
ing her reason, the shock of seeing Lydia prove 
dangerous; and so, one evening as the sun set, her 
strength shattered, she returned to her own rooms. 

It happened that the following day was the 
ninth of the Eleusinian festival, on which, if at 
all, those to whom the mission had been tendered 
might accept or renounce it. Strange to say, with 

99 



The Demetrian 

her waning strength ebbed also the power of pas- 
sive resistance which had kept Lydia from deci- 
sion; she surrendered not to the exercise of a con- 
trolling will but to the suggesting influence of 
Irene's anguish; and on the next day in the tem- 
ple, to the rage of some and to the deep concern of 
all, in the procession she wore the yellow veil 
which announced her as a bride of Demeter. 



100 



CHAPTER VIII 

HOW THE CULT WAS FOUNDED 

BEFORE the dramatic climax of the Eleu- 
sinian festival, the first incident of which 
closed the last chapter, and the thrilling 
sequel of which I shall have later to narrate, I 
had become, in spite of myself, dragged deeper 
into the political arena than I wished. 

In the first place I had not remained an un- 
moved spectator of Neaera's dance. It was very 
new to me and altogether bewitching. She had a 
faultless figure — or, if it had a fault, what it 
took away from the type of ideal beauty it per- 
haps added to her feminine attractiveness. And 
so, on returning with Ariston to our bachelor 
quarters she was the theme of our conversation. 
Ariston had passed through a phase of tendresse 
for Neaera. Most of his generation who were 
of Neaera's class had experienced her novitiate. 
Even Chairo had not returned unscathed. We 
found him at the bath, and after a plunge into the 

lOI 



The Demetrian 

bracing sea water we lounged in our wraps on 
the couches prepared for that delightful moment. 

Chairo declined to take Neaera seriously: " * II 
y des gens,' " he said, " ' qui sont le luxe de la 
race.' She is a sprite created to awake sentiments 
which must be satisfied by others; or, perhaps, 
remain unsatisfied, and thus stimulate the brush 
of the painter and the pen of the poet. She is an 
artist herself; utterly without conscience or heart; 
but contributing greatly to the charm of life, and 
if not taken in too heavy doses, altogether de- 
lightful." 

Ariston was more severe! " She is a calculat- 
ing little minx with her own ends to serve; some- 
times those ends are good and she secures a large 
following by virtue of them; sometimes they are 
altogether bad, and then she uses the following se- 
cured by her good ends to attain the bad. But 
the worst of it is, she uses what she has of charm 
remorselessly and has more than once been sum- 
moned before the priests of Demeter." 

" That is no discredit," retorted Chairo. " The 
whole band of priests ought to be consigned to the 
shades. They are an unmitigated curse " 

It was no easy matter to understand the work- 
ing of the priestly system but I gathered this from 
the discussion: According to Ariston, the cult of 

102 



How the Cult was Founded 

Demeter was organized mainly through the in- 
fluence of the women to accomplish a reform in 
the marriage system and an intelligent, scientific, 
and religious regulation of all sexual relations. 
The evils to be remedied were threefold: To rec- 
oncile continence with love; to retain the sanctity 
of marriage without imposing a life penalty for 
a single innocent mistake; and to secure, without 
compulsion, the improvement of the race. 

In regard to the first of these three, it was 
recognized that no one function in the human 
body contributed so much to the health or malady 
of the race as this; and that free love, which had 
constituted one of the planks of the Socialist party, 
would be fatal to the survival of the community, 
in consequence of the physical and moral abuses 
to which incontinence would give rise. The sur- 
vival of the races which practised continence over 
those which did not practise it was too clearly 
recorded in history for its lesson to be neglected. 
Thus, the promiscuous savage disappears before 
the savage who exercises the continence, however 
slight, involved in metronymic institutions; these 
last disappear before the races which exercise the 
higher degree of continence required by the patri- 
archal or polygamous system; and these last suc- 
cumb in the conflict with those which practise the 

103 



The Demetrian 

highest degree of continence, known in our day 
under the name of monogamy. The lesson of his- 
tory, then, is that continence is essential to the 
progress of the race. The problem consists in de- 
fining continence. 

This could not be done by written laws; the 
attempt to regulate sexual relations by law had 
broken down in my own day. Divorce was the 
attempt of morality to rescue marriage from 
promiscuousness. The greatest immorality pre- 
vailed where divorce was forbidden; in other 
words, the institution of marriage became a screen 
for immorality; women took the vow of marriage 
only the easier to break it, and even those who 
took it with the sincere intention of being faithful 
to it, once the bond proved intolerable, finding no 
moral escape from it adopted the only immoral 
alternative. Divorce, therefore, was the only 
escape; and the easier divorce became the more 
did the sanctity of marriage diminish; so that at 
last it became impossible to decide which system 
resulted in more demoralization — the one which 
maintaining a theoretically indissoluble marriage 
resulted in secret promiscuousness, or the one 
which through divorce by making marriage easily 
dissoluble opened the door wide to the satisfac- 
tion of every caprice. 

104 



How the Cult was Founded 

The only force that has ever seemed able to 
cope with this problem is religion. Religion for 
centuries filled convents and monasteries with 
men and women who under a mistaken morality 
offered love as a sacrifice to God; religion has 
been the determining factor in the survival of 
community life; that is to say, those communities 
which were animated by religion — such as Shak- 
ers, and the conventual orders — have relatively 
prospered, whereas those which were not ani- 
mated by religion have rapidly disappeared. Re- 
ligion effectually preserves the chastity of women, 
even outside of convents — as in Ireland — and has 
been the main prop of such continence as sur- 
vived during our time in the institution of mar- 
riage. Religion, then, seemed to be the only 
human sentiment that could determine continence, 
and to some religious institution, therefore, it was 
thought this question must be referred. 

What actually happened was this: The consti- 
tutional convention, which put an end to the old 
order of things and brought in the new, was con- 
trolled by the Socialist faction which believed in 
free love; a provision, therefore, was inserted in 
the constitution forbidding all laws on the sub- 
ject of marriage. The same constitution, how- 
ever, provided that all adults over the age of 

105 



The Demetrian 

twenty-five years who had passed the necessary ex- 
aminations — female as well as male — should have 
a vote; and this last gave women a voice in politi- 
cal matters, which they soon exercised with un- 
expected solidarity. They became a power in the 
state, and threatened a modification of the consti- 
tution on the subject of marriage, which would 
not only restore it to its original inflexibility, but 
would impose penalties on both sexes for violation 
of the marriage vow, such as the world had not 
up to that time seen or dreamed of. The whole 
community was aghast at the conflict between the 
sexes to which this question gave rise, and all the 
more so, that women had become a fighting power 
that could no longer be disregarded. The drill 
introduced into the schools for both sexes had 
demonstrated that in marksmanship the average 
woman was quite equal to the average man, and 
in ability to endure pain she proved altogether su- 
perior to him. Already the licentiousness that 
prevailed in Louisiana and the adjacent States be- 
tween Louisiana and the Atlantic seaboard had 
given rise to a civil war; and the women of the 
North had fought on the side of sexual morality 
in a manner that opened the eyes of men to the 
existence of a new and formidable power in the 
state. The issue upon which Louisiana had under- 

io6 



How the Cult was Founded 

taken to secede was upon the power of the federal 
Government to enact penal laws against idleness. 
Obviously, idleness is, under a CoUectivist gov- 
ernment, a most dangerous offence. Collectivism 
cannot survive except upon the theory that all the 
members of the community furnish their quota of 
work. It was supposed that this question could 
be left to state legislation; and during a few 
generations every state did secure enough work 
from its citizens to furnish the stipulated amount 
of produce to the common store. But as disso- 
luteness prevailed in the South, the Southern 
States fell more and more behind in their con- 
tribution, and their failure was obviously due to 
the demoralization which attended promiscuity in 
sexual relations. In the Northern States a certain 
sense of personal dignity had created a public 
opinion on the subject, that prevented free love 
from producing its worst results; habits of indus- 
try, too, already existed there, and the creation 
of state farm colonies — such as existed in our day 
in Holland — where the unwilling were made to 
work prevented idleness from prevailing. In the 
Southern States, the climate lent itself to all the 
abuses that attend the surrender of self-control; 
the women never possessed the initiative necessary 
for defense; the more the men abandoned them- 

107 



The Demetrian 

selves to pleasure the less they were able either to 
govern or to tolerate government; and, as a neces- 
sary consequence, there was a relaxation of effort 
in every direction whether political, industrial, or 
domestic. 

Much agitation prevailed in the rest of the 
Union over the condition of the South; the wom- 
en, particularly, fearing that the contagion would 
spread, banded together to form purity leagues, 
with a view to meet the evil by a system of social 
ostracism; but before the sexual issue came to a 
head, the failure of the Southern States to furnish 
their quota to the common store raised an eco- 
nomic issue easier to handle. The federal Gov- 
ernment passed a measure providing that in case 
any State failed to furnish its quota, the President 
was to replace the elected governor by one ap- 
pointed by himself, and the whole penal admin- 
istration was to pass into federal hands, with 
power to the federal Government to create pauper 
colonies and administer them. This aroused the 
ferocity of the whole Southern people, and it was 
at this crisis that the women of the North showed 
their prowess and initiative. They formed regi- 
ments which rivaled those of the men in number, 
and even compared with them in efficiency. The 
seceding States proved utterly unable to resist the 

io8 



How the Cult was Founded 

forces of the North, and were soon reduced to un- 
conditional surrender. 

In the period of reconstruction which fol- 
lowed this civil war, there came to the front in 
Concord a woman of singular ability, who united 
the mystic power of the founders of all religions 
with a personal beauty that made of her the model 
of the great sculptor of that day — Phocas. She 
early developed a faculty for divining thought, 
which secured for her the wonder and awe of the 
entire neighborhood; and when upon reaching 
maturity Phocas took her as his model for a statue 
of Demeter, she entered into the spirit of his work 
and the spirit of his work entered into her. The 
statue was his masterpiece, and was moved from 
city to city until, coupled as it soon was with the 
personality of Latona — for so the new priestess 
styled herself — it became the center of a veritable 
cult. It drew the minds of men to the old Greek 
worship of Fertility and Death in the personali- 
ties of Demeter and Persephone, so that Fertility 
became dignified by Death, and Death disarmed 
by Fertility — both merging, as it were, into a no- 
tion of immortality dear to the hopes of men. The 
p-olden ear of corn that figured in the radiant 
tresses of Demeter was shadowed by the death in 
the dark earth that awaits it, and thus became to 

109 



The Demetrian 

them an emblem of the annual resurrection of the 
spring with its promise of a new after-life for 
man also. 

To Latona the quality of the Greek myth most 
worthy of commemoration was the spirit of sacri- 
fice, which made of Demeter the Mater Dolorosa 
of the ancient world. The mother seeking her 
ravished daughter through all the kingdoms of 
the world, wresting her at last from the dark god 
— but for a season only — and during the season 
of sorrow and solitude finding compensation in 
caring for the sick child of a woodman in a forest 
hut — here was a myth for which Latona could 
stand and through which she could draw men to 
learn the lesson of progress and happiness through 
sacrifice. The long hours she spent with Phocas 
in the study of these things and the strength of 
his genius inspired her with a love for the man 
as well as for his art; but as the thought that she 
was born to a mission slowly dawned upon her 
she withdrew from his companionship, as, indeed, 
from the companionship of her neighbors; per- 
formed the tasks she owed the state with punctili- 
ousness, and gathered about her a few women who 
responded to her exalted ideas. Her love for 
Phocas, about which all her earthly life cen- 
tered, became to her the consummate sacrifice that 

no 



How the Cult was Founded 

she could make to this new religion that was 
slowly taking shape in her. She drew her votaries 
chiefly from the conventual order that had gath- 
ered about the great cathedral on Morningside 
Heights; for the Christian religion had experi- 
enced a great change since the revolution. The 
Christian Church, released from the necessity of 
worldly consideration of wealth, was now sus- 
tained by those only who sincerely believed in her 
principles; and as soon as the city had been re- 
built to suit the new conditions, those who had 
contributed their leisure to the beautifying of the 
streets, turned their attention to the neglected 
foundations on the Heights. They found in the 
new Christian spirit something of the enthusiasm 
of the thirteenth century, and ridding the creed 
of all save the principle of love which Christ 
had made the foundation of His church, set 
themselves to embodying this principle with its 
mystic consequences of sacrifice into gothic arch 
and deep-stained glass, upon a scale and design 
heretofore never accomplished. Abandoning the 
transitional style at first contemplated, they adopt- 
ed the general scheme of Chartres; but in lieu 
of the almost discordant steeples of Chartres they 
substituted a design taken rather from what is 
left of St. Jean, at Soissons, varying in height 

III 



The Demetrian 

and detail, but identical in style, stimulating won- 
der without shocking it. The entrance porches 
of the western fagade were inspired by Rheims 
and Bourges, for there were five of them; the nave 
and choir towered to the heights of Beauvais ; and 
in the center rose the spire of Salisbury. The 
lateral steeples flanking the north and south ap- 
proaches were completed with the same bewilder- 
ing variety as on the west front, and the apse, 
where rested the sanctuary, terminated the story 
with a cluster of chapels that equaled, if not ex- 
celled, the chevet of Le Mans; and so every part 
of this tribute to Christ lifted itself up in adora- 
tion to heaven like a flame. It rose from a green 
sward, and adjoining it, on the north side, was a 
cloister that in the hush of its seclusion brought 
back hallowed recollections of a bygone age. 

It was from this cloister that Latona drew her 
following; for Latona, with her thoughts turned 
to Eleusis and not to Galilee, conceived of a wor- 
ship which — though sorrow had a part in it — par- 
took also of joy and thanksgiving; sacrifice as- 
suredly, but for the happiness of this world, 
rather than for its mortification; an after life also, 
but an after life for which preparation in this 
world might through the great unselfishness of a 
few assure the happiness of the many. So that 

I 12 



How the Cult was Founded 

while sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice had become 
the underlying principle of the Christian reli- 
gion, sacrifice for the making of joy became the 
central idea of the new cult. And Latona, as 
indeed every mystic, the more she dwelt upon 
these things, the more she grew to believe in her 
mission; she began by dreaming dreams and ended 
by seeing visions; she found that fasting and ascet- 
icism contributed to lengthen and strengthen the 
moments when, losing consciousness of this world, 
she seemed to find herself in direct communion 
with the divine. Her body soon showed the traces 
of her spiritual life; she lost her beauty, but in 
the place of it came a happiness so radiant that 
as she walked in the streets to her allotted task it 
caused men and women to stand and wonder. 

Meanwhile, her fame grew apace. But her 
personality was at first far more impressive than 
her cult. The one was clear and striking, the 
other vague and even obscure. At last on a day 
that afterward became the great festival of the 
Demetrian calendar, Latona fell into an ecstasy 
that lasted from the rising of the sun to the set- 
ting. She spent it on her knees, in adoration; 
rigid and motionless, with her hands held out as 
though upon a cross; none of those about her 
dared intrude; when darkness came she swooned, 

113 



The Demetrian 

and those watching lifted her to her couch. For 
a week she lay as it were unconscious. Then she 
gathered her votaries about her, and for the first 
time clearly enunciated her gospel to the world. 
This done, a strange sickness came upon her, 
she was, as it were, consumed by the fire of her 
inspiration; she wasted away, and with her dying 
breath asked that what was left of her be placed in 
an alembic, the gases into which her body passed 
be burned and the flame, so lit, be never extin- 
guished. 

And it was done. The corpse of Latona gave 
birth to a new vestal fire tended by new vestals, 
vowed no longer to barrenness, but to fertility and 
sacrifice. 

Her words were preserved by many of her vo- 
taries, but their stories varied, as must indeed all 
such records vary in a world where minds differ 
as much as inclinations. But the central idea re- 
mained and gave rise to a cult which, unsupported 
by the state or by law, acquired control over the 
minds of men, much as did the papacy in the 
eleventh century. Some, as Ariston, believed it 
to be founded on reason, but dreaded its power 
and increase; others, as Chairo, regarded it as 
an unmitigated despotism. The issue was to be 
fought out — as, indeed, such issues generally are 

114 



How the Cult was Founded 

— through the conflict between personal passions 
and political beliefs, each using and abusing the 
other and out of both emerging, after the appease- 
ment to which every struggle eventually tends^ 
into a clearer idea and a popular verdict. 

Meanwhile, the followers of Latona had built 
the temple of Demeter on the old classic lines, 
and the solemn grove about the temple had not 
detracted from the cathedral close, perhaps be- 
cause each cult appealed to different tempera- 
ments; perhaps, also, because many found that the 
two cults appealed to the different sides of char- 
acter and to the different demands of each. 

The cult, though unsupported by any law or 
statute, had acquired extraordinary power in the 
state. It undertook to summon before its council 
all persons charged with offenses against Demeter 
— Demeter standing amongst other things for the 
purity of domestic life. If the party summoned 
refused to appear before the council, the matter 
was referred to the attorney general, who, under 
the influence of the cult, prosecuted the charge 
in the criminal courts with the utmost severity; 
and whether the person accused was convicted or 
not, a refusal to appear before the council resulted 
in a social ostracism so complete that few ven- 
tured to incur it. If, on the other hand, the party 

115 



The Demetrian 

charged appeared before the council, the case was 
likely to be treated with leniency, and conviction 
seldom resulted in more than the imposing of 
some penitential task. Should it, however, appear 
that the charge was more serious than could be 
dealt with by the cult, it was referred to the 
attorney general. 

The cult was careful to abstain from any act 
or teaching which could tend to encourage idol- 
atry or superstition; thus, the statue of Latona, 
which had first inspired the Demetrian idea, was 
not placed in the temple where it might be 
thought properly to belong, but in the cloister. 
The temptation to worship it, therefore, was re- 
moved. Indeed, it was for the purpose of making 
the worship of a graven image the more impos- 
sible that Latona had asked that her body be con- 
sumed and the flame from it perpetuated on the 
altar. A flame could remain an emblem; it could 
hardly itself, in our day, ever become an object 
of worship. 

In this way was kept alive the idea that the 
divine, wherever else it might also exist, exists 
certainly within each and every one of us, and 
that by the cultivation of love and usefulness it 
can be made to prosper and increase in us. For 
men, the active scope of usefulness lay chiefly in 

ii6 



How the Cult was Founded 

the field of labor; for women, chiefly in the field 
of fertility — neither field excluding the other — 
but rather both including all. And so women 
contributed labor, in so far as labor did not im- 
pair their essential function of motherhood, and 
men contributed continence as the highest male 
duty in the field of fertility. 

The duties of the male, therefore, were 
grouped into two classes, active and passive; the 
former were for the most part exercised in will- 
ingness to labor for the commonwealth without 
too grasping a regard for reward; the latter con- 
sisted mainly in continence, carefully itself dis- 
tinguished from abstention — for it was a cardinal 
maxim of the Demetrian faith — as old, indeed, 
as the days of Aristotle — that human happiness 
could but be attained by conditions that permitted 
the due exercise of all human functions, each ac- 
cording to its laws. Science therefore came to 
the rescue of human happiness by determining 
thfe laws of human functions; and art completed 
its work by creating an environment which to the 
highest degree possible enabled every man and 
woman to exercise all their functions with wis- 
dom, moderation, and delight, to the best happi- 
ness of all and the ultimate advancement of the 
race. 

117 



The Demetrian 

And although the future of the race was for- 
ever present to the priests of the cult, yet were 
men and women not expected to make any great 
sacrifice beyond the immediate generations that 
succeeded them, the institution of marriage being 
carefully maintained because it kept alive the care 
of the parent, each for its own offspring, thus pro- 
viding for every generation the protection fur- 
nished by paternal pride and maternal solicitude. 

The purity of the domestic hearth, its rever- 
ential care of offspring, the lifting of motherhood 
out of the irreligion of caprice into the religion 
of sacrifice; the exercise in all these matters of 
the highest, because the most difficult, of all the 
virtues — moderation — these are the special con- 
cerns of the Demetrian cult. 



ii8 



CHAPTER IX 

HOW IT MIGHT BE UNDERMINED 

THE discussion of these matters by Ariston 
and Chairo elicited an old story which 
was to receive its sequel in my time and 
it is important, therefore, to narrate it. 

It seems that the year before my arrival among 
them Neaera had encouraged the addresses of a 
certain Harmes — a brother of Anna of Ann, and 
that Harmes was accused by her of having become 
so ungovernable that it had given rise to a public 
prosecution. Harmes had been convicted and 
confined to a farm colony, where he was still serv- 
ing his term. The incident had given rise to much 
vexation of spirit, for many felt that Harmes was 
more sinned against than sinning. 

The account Ariston gave of the matter was 
greatly to Neaera's discredit; according to him, 
Neaera originally had designs on Chairo, and 
he seemed willing enough to enjoy her society. 
Much thrown together, both by politics and jour- 
nalism, it was not unnatural that their compan- 

119 



The Demetrian 

ionship should often extend itself into their hours 
of leisure. But Chairo was far too clear-sighted 
not to perceive the capriciousness and duplicity 
of his collaborator, and Neaera wasted her efforts 
upon him. 

Of this, however, she could never be convinced 
and she returned to the charge over and over 
again. During one of the interludes she happened 
to meet Harmes and took a liking to the fresh- 
ness of his youth; he became infatuated with her, 
and one evening he visited her at her apartment 
on an occasion when Neaera's mother was absent 
and she was therefore alone. It seems the young 
couple remained together so late into the even- 
ing that Neaera on the following day, fearing that 
a rumor of the visit might reach Chairo to her 
disadvantage, complained of Harmes's violence. 
Harmes, with a devotion to Neaera of which 
Ariston did not think her worthy, refused to de- 
fend himself against the charge. It is probable 
the matter would have dropped had not some ene- 
mies of Neaera taken the matter up, believing 
that, if prosecuted, Harmes would not refuse to 
vindicate himself and injure Neaera. 

The charge had therefore been brought first 
before the Demetrian council ; and the council, on 
the same theory as that adopted by Neaera's ene- 

I20 



How it Might be Undermined 

mies, and convinced that Neaera would be pun- 
ished, put the matter into the hands of the attorney 
general. Harmes's silence, however, only served 
to vindicate Neaera and convict himself; and the 
community was still undecided as to which was 
the culprit and which the victim. 

I had an opportunity myself of forming an 
opinion on the subject, for shortly after my con- 
versation with Ariston and Chairo I received an 
intimation from Neaera that she would like to 
see me at the office of the Liberty staff, and upon 
going there at the hour mentioned I found Neaera 
busily engaged writing in a room that suggested 
other things than labor; for it was furnished with 
more luxury than was usual, and there were richly 
upholstered divans in it laden with piles of eider- 
down pillows; the air, too, was heavy with per- 
fume. 

Neaera, however, received me with her brow 
contracted; she was working at an editorial, and 
I evidently interrupted the flow of her thought; 
but the frown very soon passed away from her 
forehead, and standing up a little impatiently she 
flung her pen down on the table. 

"There!" she said, "I am glad you have 
come; I need rest." 

She threw herself on the divan, and I could 

121 



The Demetrian 

not help thinking as she lay there that the Greek 
dress was less open to criticism in the fields and 
open air than in a closed room. In town the 
longer mantle was worn which came down to the 
feet; but the clinging drapery displayed the lines 
of the figure in a manner to which I felt uncom^ 
fortably unaccustomed. 

" I sent for you," said she, " to speak to you 
seriously about this lecture you are to give. Your 
views may have an important bearing and you 
ought to know the evils of our system if you are 
to compare them with the old." 

" I am impressed," answered I, *' with certain 
things — such as the absence of poverty, the rela- 
tive well-being of all; and this seems to me so 
important that I am inclined perhaps to under- 
value the price you pay for them " 

" The price — that is it — the terrible price; we 
are subjected to a despotism such as you in your 
times would not for a moment have endured." 

" Undoubtedly — in one sense of the word — 
despotism. But Ariston claims that this despot- 
ism, though absolute, applies to only a few hours 
in the day, whereas in our time there was for the 
mass as great a despotism that controlled their 
entire existence. Some time must be given to the 
securing of food, clothing, and shelter. The pres- 

122 



How it Might be Undermined 

ent government claims to furnish this to all with 
less labor and less compulsion than under our 
system." 

We discussed this question at some length, but 
I could not help thinking that some other thought 
.was preoccupying Neaera's mind, and presently 
she stretched her arms over her head and said, 
'^ Oh, I am tired of it all! " — then turning on her 
side she laid her head upon a bare arm, and look- 
ing at me, smiled. 

It was impossible to mistake her gesture or her 
smile; it told me that she had not called me to 
speak of serious things at all; it beckoned me to 
her side on the divan, and I almost felt myself 
unconsciously responding to her invitation. But 
I was aware of danger and refrained. Neverthe- 
less, I was curious to know whether I was accus- 
ing her wrongfully, and I said: 

" The thing that puzzles me most about you 
all is — " I hesitated intentionally, and she helped 
me. 

" What is it? " 

" I don't know how to say it." 

^'Bashful?" 

" A little." 

" Can I guess? " 

" I think you can." 

I2J 



The Demetrian 

" We are all as much puzzled about it as you.*' 

" And yet I am told you pride yourselves on 
your good behavior." 

" Some do " — she paused a little, took a flower 
from a vase by her side and bit the stalk; she held 
the flower in her mouth a minute, looked at me 
again, half closing her eyes; but I remained seated 
where I was. Finding I remained unresponsive, 
she went on : 

" We have all the faults that come from too 
great intimacy between men and women. The 
men get so accustomed to the women that romance 
is dead. We tend to become a vast family of 
brothers and sisters. Fortunately we travel and 
receive travelers, and so the dreadful monotony is 
relieved. You are a traveler, you see." 

I understood now why I was favored, but still 
I remained seated where I was. 

Perceiving that I was either stupid or resolute 
she jumped up from the divan and came to where 
I sat. She was short, and as she stood by me, her 
face was near mine and only a little above it. She 
had the flower in her hand now, and handing it to 
me, said: 

" Put it in my hair." 

I did so. She lowered her head to help me. 
I thought the time had come to effect an escape. 

124. 



How it Might be Undermined 

" Did you ever hear," said I, " the Eastern 
story of the man with the staff, the cock, and the 
pot? " 

" No, tell it me." 

" There was once upon a time a man climb- 
ing a mountain. He had a pot hung on his arm 
and a cock in his hand. In the other hand he held 
a staff. On his way he perceived a young girl 
and invited her to climb the mountain with him. 
V/ith some little show of reluctance she consented, 
but as they approached the last house on the 
mountainside she paused and said: 

" ' I shall go no farther with you! ' 

" ^ Why not? ' asked he. 

" ' Because I fear that when we have gone be- 
yond reach of these houses you will kiss me.' 

" ' Nay,' answered the man, * do you not see 
that both hands are encumbered? In one hand I 
hold my staff; in the other is a cock and a pot 
hangs upon my arm.' 

" The maiden smiled and they pursued their 
way. But when they were gone well up on their 
way the maiden stopped again and said: 

" ' I shall go no farther with you.' 

" ' Why not? ' asked he. 

" ' Because I fear that now we are beyond 
reach of the houses, you will stick your staff in the 

125 



The Demetrian 

ground; you will put your cock under your pot, 
and you will kiss me.' 

" And the man did then at once stick his staff 
in the ground; he put the cock under the pot and 
kissed her — as indeed all along she meant he 
should." 

She gradually edged away from me as I pro- 
ceeded with my story, until at last she sank on the 
divan again. 

When I had finished she said, " That is a very 
old story, and if you will permit me I shall get 
to work again." 

I bowed very low and left her, feeling more 
humiliated than Neaera; and I wondered why it 
was that virtue, in the presence of vice, sometimes 
seems cheap and even ridiculous. 



126 



CHAPTER X 

AN UNEXPECTED SOLUTION 

GHAIRO had been kept informed of what 
was happening to Lydia until the last day 
of the Eleusinian festival, and he believed 
that all danger of losing her was over. The ap- 
pearance of Lydia, therefore, in the procession 
wearing the yellow veil was all the more a 
stupefying surprise to him. I was standing with 
him and Ariston as the procession passed, and 
was looking with eager and delighted interest at 
the gracefully draped figures that succeeded one 
another to the sound of music, which, with a 
subtle combination of majesty and grace, com- 
bined the plain chant of the Catholic liturgy with 
the lighter fugues of Bach, for in and out of great 
chords there ran intermingling strains of many 
voices, very light and delicate. 

The procession was headed by girls and boys, 
selected for their perfect wholesomeness, who 
carried flowers and scattered them; they were 
dressed in the old Greek chiton which, fastened 

127 



The Demetrian 

only above the shoulder, betrayed every move- 
ment of their lithe young bodies, as, swaying with 
the rhythm of the sower casting his seed, they 
threw their offerings first on one side and then 
on the other. The governor of the State, the 
mayor of the city, the commander of the militia, 
and their respective cabinets and staffs followed, 
respectively arrayed in the insignia of their of- 
fice; the other cults also were represented; those of 
Jupiter robed in purple; those of Asclepius; those 
of Dionysus, and others. In striking contrast with 
these came next the novices and the nuns, swathed 
closely and heavily, even the head being concealed 
within a fold of drapery. The procession entered 
from the cloister, and on approaching the altar 
where was kept burning the vestal flame, it di- 
vided so as to allow the high priest and his acolytes 
to pass up between. The high priest was followed 
by the choir, and after the choir walked those 
who had accepted the mission. 

It was upon these that the curiosity and im- 
patience of the congregation centered; it some- 
times happened that there were none; in such case 
the procession was closed by the Demetrians — 
that is to say, all who had already accepted the 
mission and completed it. On this occasion a 
single figure was seen to enter the portal, covered 

128 



An Unexpected Solution 

with the yellow veil and so draped as to conceal 
her features. The head, however, more usually 
bowed, was erect. For a sensible period of sus- 
pense it was impossible to tell who it was that 
had assumed the yellow shroud; but presently 
those nearest to her had discovered Lydia, and 
her name passed in an awful whisper to where v/e 
stood. The name once pronounced, there could 
no longer be mistake; Lydia alone of all the pos- 
tulants could so hold herself: Vera incessu patuit 
dea. I felt a clutch at my arm, and, turning, saw 
the face of Chairo blanched and hard; but I was 
too absorbed in the procession to take long heed 
of him; I saw the procession close, and followed 
the ritual with breathless interest till the congre- 
gation was dismissed, unaware that Chairo had 
already slipped away from me and out of the 
temple. 

As Ariston and I walked back to our lodging 
I asked what Chairo would do. Ariston answered 
that he feared trouble. We were both deeply af- 
fected, for even Ariston, votary of Demeter 
though he was, could not but feel as I did, that 
there was something in the choice of Lydia 
strange and portentous. We discussed it in low 
voices, and for many days little else was spoken 
of. Meanwhile, anxiety regarding the action of 

129 



The Demetrian 

Chairo redoubled for he bad disappeared. It was 
well known that the Demetrian council was tak- 
ing steps, but no one knew what the steps were, 
and a sense of impending calamity weighed upon 
us all. 

From the moment Lydia had decided to accept 
the mission, there seemed to grow in her a strength 
that was not her own. She rose from the couch, 
on which she had thrown herself upon leaving 
Irene, without a symptom of her old irresolution; 
she stood without sense of fatigue while the yel- 
low shroud was so draped about her as to hide her 
face to the utmost possible, for though she knew 
she could not escape recognition an instinct in her 
set her upon the attempt to do so; and when in 
the procession she entered the portals of the tem- 
ple, a glow moved up from her heart to her head 
that deeply flushed her countenance as she heard 
the whisper " Lydia " grow from mouth to mouth 
into an almost angry protestation. Nevertheless, 
she felt sure now that she was right; it was easier 
as well as nobler to make the sacrifice than to 
yield. She walked firmly, with head erect, until 
she sank upon her knees before the altar, and the 
choir's triumphant processional was subdued in 
low responses to the chant of the high priest. 

At last he turned to her and lifted his hands 
130 



An Unexpected Solution 

in mute suggestion that she should bring her trib- 
ute to the goddess. A Demetrian presented her 
the flint which was to symbolize the strength of 
her sacrifice; the priest gave her the steel that 
symbolized its cruelty; and striking one against 
the other she lit a spark that added a new flame 
to the altar. This was the irrevocable act. A 
great sigh mingled with many sobs broke from 
those present in the temple; but her eyes remained 
dry, and at the close of the ceremony she walked 
back to the cloister as firmly as she had left it. 

But once returned, there came upon her 
the inevitable reaction; she discovered that the 
strength which had come upon her suddenly 
could no less suddenly forsake her; she threw her- 
self upon a couch and asked to be left alone. As 
the door closed upon her attendant she was half 
astonished, half afraid to find sobs invade her and 
tears gush from her eyes. What did it all mean? 
Had she a will of her own, or was she merely 
the arena upon which instincts, half of heredity, 
half of education, were fighting out their battle, 
independently of her? She seemed to have be- 
come a mere spectator of it; alas, she must also 
be its victim. She lay sobbing until the sobs 
slowly died away, leaving her exhausted, and at 
last she slept like a tired child. 

131 



The Demetrian 

The next morning she awoke as weak as 
though she had had a long fever. It was the cus- 
tom for novices to be removed to a temple in an 
island off the coast as soon as they accepted the 
mission — for, from the day of acceptance they 
were secluded — living with Demetrians only, un- 
der conditions which, though compatible with 
their mission were, nevertheless, most conducive 
to gayety and health. But Lydia was too weak to 
be moved; and she lay in her bed night and day, 
eating little, sleeping little, very quiet. There 
was hardly room in her thoughts for regret; she 
had committed the irrevocable act and now she 
must resign herself; her body had been exhausted 
by the struggle and cried for rest; and rest was 
given her. 

Slowly her strength returned, and she was be- 
ginning to feel the time had come to go to the 
island cloister when, suddenly in the middle of 
the night, she was aware that some one had pushed 
aside the curtain at her door and was standing in 
her room. She had neither seen nor heard any- 
thing, but she was conscious of a presence, and 
a guilty delight in her heart told her, however 
incredible, that it was — Chairo. 

She raised herself in her bed on her hand and 
found herself seized in a passionate embrace. 

132 



An Unexpected Solution 

" For the love of God!" she heard his voice 
vv^hisper to her, "don't resist"; and compelling 
arms lifted her off her couch, w^rapped the heavy 
coverings upon it about her, and carried her like 
a child out of the room. She was taken into the 
cloister; her head was covered, and she did not 
wish to see. The weakness which had racked 
her bones and from which she had barely re- 
covered came back to her, but now how differ- 
ent! For it wrapped a lethargy about her to 
which it was an ecstasy to surrender; no pain now; 
no sorrow; not even contrition. She was in the 
arms of Chairo, and it had happened without a 
sign from her; almost against her will; without 
her consent. For a season, at any rate, Lydia sur- 
rendered herself to the sweet self-deception that 
this had really all happened without her consent. 
Deep in her heart, however, was the conviction 
that she had strength enough to resist had she 
chosen; that a single cry would have sufficed to 
thwart a desperate stratagem. She was a little 
alarmed to find that this conviction could remain 
unshaken, and that, nevertheless, there was a song 
of thanksgiving in her heart that the strength of 
resistance had remained unused and the cry re- 
mained unuttered. 

Chairo's strong arms were about her as he 
133 



The Demetrian 

silently hurried through the cloister. Lydia 
heard other hurrying steps besides his; he had 
clearly joined confederates; she was soon put 
into a carriage and whirled away from the 
temple. 



134 



1 



CHAPTER XI 

THE PLOT THICKENS 

■^HE first news I had of the carrying off of 
Lydia was from Ariston. I was just go- 
ing down to breakfast when he abruptly 
entered the sitting room we shared, and ex- 
claimed: "Lydia has disappeared!" 

To my inquiries he answered that the gate of 
the cloister had been forced, and the janitor 
bound and gagged. Obviously several men were 
involved, for traces of many steps were clearly 
visible — all shod; Lydia's sandals and cothurni 
were still in her room: she had, apparently, been 
lifted off her bed in the bed clothes; the absence 
of all trace of bare feet indicated that Lydia had 
not put foot to ground. Probably she had been 
gagged also, as no cry had been heard ; everything 
seemed to indicate that she had been carried off 
against her will. The Demetrian council was 
swearing in special constables and had called upon 
the state authorities for help to capture the in- 
truders; on the other hand, Balbus and others 

^3S 



The Demetrian 

were collecting their followers, and armed con- 
flict was feared. 

Ariston was in great perplexity; all his con- 
victions were on the side of order; but friendship 
made it impossible for him to join Chairo's ene- 
mies. After an animated discussion we decided 
that he should go to the council and endeavor to 
obtain a hearing, in the hope of persuading the 
council to abandon the effort either to recover 
Lydia or punish Chairo. Ariston begged me to 
go to Lydia First, explain to her the steps he was 
taking, and put myself at her disposal should she 
have a message to send him. 

I hurried to Lydia First's apartment and 
found Cleon there. With flushed face Cleon an- 
nounced that Chairo and his sister had been cap- 
tured; that they were probably at that moment 
before the magistrate; that he had rushed home to 
tell his mother, and that she was preparing to go 
to her daughter. 

Presently Lydia First entered the room; the 
events of the night had not impaired the dignity 
of her manner but had deepened the lines in her 
already timeworn countenance. She bade me 
seek Ariston, of whose knowledge of legal proce- 
dure she felt in need, and hurry him to the court 
where Lydia and Chairo were being examined. 

136 



The Plot Thickens 

Prisoners were entitled to counsel if they asked 
for it; but the innocent seldom availed themselves 
of the privilege. The examination might, there- 
fore, be actually then proceeding unless either 
Chairo or Lydia demanded an adjournment. It 
little suited the temperament of Chairo to seek 
counsel, and the consciousness of innocence would 
prevent Lydia from doing so. I hastened, there- 
fore, with all speed and found Ariston waiting 
to be introduced into the council chamber. He 
was still ignorant of the capture. We hurried to 
the courthouse and Ariston, who had no right 
to appear except at the request of one of the 
prisoners, sent in a line both to Chairo and 
Lydia urging them to demand an adjournment. 
The examination had already commenced. Both 
Chairo and Lydia, however, asked that Ariston 
be admitted, and I was admitted with him. 

Lydia First was there and had already urged 
both Chairo and Lydia to ask for counsel, and 
both had refused. The examination was not a 
public one, only relations and friends or counsel 
being admitted; when, however, Ariston's mes- 
sage was received, he was by general consent 
admitted, and he immediately addressed the ex- 
amining magistrate. He pointed out that Chairo, 
being a member of the state legislature, enjoyed 

137 



The Demetrian 

immunity from arrest unless captured in flagrante 
delicto, and that Lydia was not charged with any 
ofifense; both ought, therefore, to be released with- 
out examination. A priest, however, who ap- 
peared for the Demetrian council persisted that 
their doors had been forced, their sanctuary vio- 
lated, a vestal carried off without her consent, and 
Chairo found in the act of flight with her; the 
priest maintained that this constituted arrest in 
flagrante delicto. Chairo reminded the magis- 
trate that he had not sought to escape examina- 
tion, but added that, mindful of the magnitude 
of the issue involved in the case, he felt it ought 
to be fought out in the political rather than the 
judicial arena, and that he was indebted to Aris- 
ton for having reminded the court of an immunity 
which would transfer the question from the courts 
to the legislature. 

The magistrate decided that he would not pro- 
ceed with the examination, but in view of the 
seriousness of the offense he would hold Chairo 
until the question whether legislative immunity 
applied to his case could be decided by a full 
court. 

Chairo was, therefore, confined in the house 
of detention, and Lydia was restored to her 
mother. 

138 



The Plot Thickens 

We at once sought admittance to Chairo, and 
found him impatiently pacing the room where he 
was confined. 

" There was treachery," he exclaimed. " My 
carriage had been tampered with; it broke down 
within a mile of the cloister. I am trying to think 
who can have been guilty of it." 

He continued pacing the room and neither of 
us was disposed to speak. Suddenly he turned 
to Ariston: 

" But I have not thanked you; I should have 
made a mistake had you not interfered; and I 
know you belong to the other side." He put his 
hand out to Ariston and they shook hands warmly. 

'' You may be of immense service at this mo- 
ment," he continued, " just because you belong to 
the government party. I was prepared for vio- 
lence, and Balbus is now collecting our friends; 
but this treachery makes me doubtful of success; 
only some half dozen knew of my plan; the 
loyalty of every one of them seems essential to us, 
and one of them is a — traitor." 

" You should be thankful that treachery pre- 
vented your resort to violence," answered Ariston. 
" You have secured what must be the matter of 
most importance to you: Lydia is restored to her 
home; she is removed from the cloister and is 

139 



The Demetrian 

given time for reflection. This you could doubt- 
less not have brought about in any other manner 
than by the plan you adopted. But had you 
escaped there would have been only one alterna- 
tive; now the question can be settled without the 
shedding of blood." 

"But I have lost Lydia!" exclaimed Chairo, 
with haggard eyes. 

" Not lost," said Ariston. " I have yet to learn 
just what part Lydia has played in the matter. 
Did she consent? " 

Chairo, who was still pacing the room, sud- 
denly stopped and faced us; he put out both hands 
deprecatingly and seemed about to answer, but ar- 
rested himself and resumed his walk. Then very 
slowly he said: 

*' What do you mean by consent? Can she be 
said to have consented when, under an influence 
that paralyzed her will she paid her tribute at 
the altar? The question we have to bring before 
the state is not whether Lydia consented to the 
cult or to me, but whether the influence exercised 
by the cult is a wholesome influence or a damn- 
able one." 

" If you want this issue to be fairly presented," 
said Ariston, " don't allow your case to be preju- 
diced by violence. Send orders at once to Balbus 

140 



The Plot Thickens 

bidding him abandon this gathering together of 
your followers. The mere fact that he is pre- 
paring for violence will distort the issue, and any 
attempt at rescue will prevent a calm and fair 
discussion of it altogether." 

" You are right," said Chairo. He took out a 
note book and made as though he would write, 
but checking himself, he said: " I must put noth- 
ing on paper," and turning to me asked: " Won't 
you go to Balbus at once and explain to him that 
violence now would be a mistake? He would 
hardly accept such a message from Ariston, who 
is known to be on the government side; but from 
you it will seem less open to suspicion. Tell him 
if he doubts you to come and see me, and hear my 
views from my own lips." 

On leaving Ariston I was aware that a large 
force of special constables, bearing the badge of 
Demeter — a sheaf of wheat — were gathered about 
the House of Detention. I hurried to the office 
of Liberty and found a crowd there, through 
which it was difficult to penetrate. Obviously 
something unusual was happening. I should nev- 
er have got through to Balbus had I not been able 
to state that I was the bearer of a message from 
Chairo. This, however, opened every door to me, 
and soon I found myself in a room where Balbus 

141 



The Demetrian 

was engaged in giving rapid instructions to a 
number of men waiting their turn to be received. 
Neaera was there also, sitting at a side table, 
busily writing. As soon as I began giving my 
message to Balbus, Neaera rose and came toward 
us. She was serious and there was a slight frown 
upon her face. When I had finished, Balbus 
turned to her and she answered: 

" It is too late. Measures have already been 
taken. Besides, Chairo's messenger " — and as she 
looked at me squarely in the face her brow dark- 
ened — " is not accredited." 

I explained the situation as Chairo had stated 
it and urged Balbus to go himself to the House 
of Detention. But Neaera said quickly: 

" If Balbus were to leave this office unes- 
corted he would be arrested. He is already com- 
promised. Moreover, we cannot take our orders 
from a prisoner." 

" The House of Detention is strongly guard- 
ed," said I. 

" And we are strongly armed," answered 
Neaera. 

I felt that it was useless further to insist and 
proposed to retire, but Neaera whispered a word 
in Balbus's ear, and he said to me, " I think I 
shall ask you to stay with us a little while." 

142 



The Plot Thickens 

" I shall not stay with you except compelled 
to do so by actual violence," I answered, with no 
slight indignation. 

" Then we shall have to use violence," an- 
swered Balbus. 

In a moment I was seized, bound, gagged, and 
hurried into an adjoining room where I was tied 
to a chair and a band was fastened about my eyes. 
In this uncomfortable position I remained for 
some hours. 



143 



CHAPTER XII 

neaera's idea of diplomacy 

AT first I was aware from a hum of voices 
that others remained in the room with me; 
but after some time the hum ceased; next 
I heard the noise of artillery not far off. It did 
not last long, but I recognized the tearing screech 
of machine guns. When it was over, believing my- 
self to be alone, I sought to extricate myself from 
my bonds. The cords, however, were so tightly 
fastened about my wrists that the skin was torn, 
and every efifort I made to loosen them occasioned 
acute pain. I must have uttered a low cry, for I 
heard a voice I knew well say mockingly: 

" Does it hurt? " And the gag was removed 
from my mouth. 

" I thought I was alone," answered I. 

'' We are alone — quite alone," said Neaera. 
*' Why don't you stick your staff in the ground and 
put the cock under the pot? " 

She was so close to ^me that I could feel her 

breath on my cheek. 

144 



Neaera's Idea of Diplomacy 

" Release my hands and I will," answered I. 

"Thank you, indeed! Do you think I have 
had you bound for that! " 

" I do not flatter myself; but as you are dis- 
posed to chat, tell me what is happening." 

She took the band off my eyes and looked be- 
witching as she mocked me: 

"Nothing is happening; and if there were 
something happening how should I know it? " 

"Who tampered with Chairo's carriage?" 

I asked the question suddenly in the hope that 
I should take her by surprise. 

"What carriage?" asked she with an air of 
innocence, but the color mounting to her cheek 
betrayed her. 

" Chairo says some one treacherously tam- 
pered with his carriage." 

" Nonsense," answered Neaera. " The acci- 
dent to Chairo's carriage is not the first carriage 
accident in the world. Chairo is thinking only 
of himself." 

"How so?" 

" He wants Lydia; we want liberty." 

My suspicions were confirmed. 

" I suppose Chairo has made love to you — as 
have all the rest." 

The dimple deepened in Neaera's cheek, but 
145 



The Demetrian 

she busied herself unfastening the cords that 
bound my wrist. 

'' I am going to give you liberty at any rate," 
she said. '' For I want you to do something for 
me." 

" Stick my stafif in the ground and put " 

''No; I have forgiven you; it is something 
very different from that." 

My hands were free now, and I stretched them 
out in exquisite relief. 

"Are you a little grateful?" 

" Of course, I am grateful — but I am still more 
curious to know what you want me to do for you." 

" It is very simple." She showed me a sheet 
of paper upon which was some typewriting. " I 
want you to sign this." 

I put out my hand to take the paper and read 
the writing. 

" Oh, no! " she cried, putting the paper behind 
her back. " I want you to sign without reading." 
She looked at me with a smile which she meant 
to be irresistible; and, assuredly, to most men the 
temptation would have been great — for the smile 
said plainly that acquiescence would have its full 
reward. 

I had unloosed the cords about my feet and 
was standing in front of her irresolute; not wish- 

146 



Neaera's Idea of Diplomacy 

ing to make an enemy of her by a downright 
refusal, for I did not know what confederates 
might be within call and yet half inclined to 
snatch at the paper and read it in spite of her. 
But I suspected that she meant me to do this; that 
she shrewdly guessed a playful struggle between 
us would increase the temptation to yield to her 
beyond powers of resistance. 

As I stood smiling at her, for the grace of her 
posture— leaning a little forward and holding the 
paper behind her back — disarmed me, she sud- 
denly waved the paper before me as though in- 
viting me to snatch at it. 

I cannot imagine what would have been the 
result of this little comedy had not a distant hum 
from the street suddenly attracted our attention. 
She ran to the window, threw up the sash and, 
taking up a field glass that was lying on the table, 
looked down the street. One glance was suffi- 
cient; when she turned back into the room her 
face was blanched; every trace of coquetry had 
disappeared; she barely looked at me and hurried 
from the room. She locked the door upon me as 
she left. I went to the window, but on my way 
there picked up the paper she had offered for my 
signature and which she had dropped as she 
picked up the field glass. I was too much inter- 

147 



The Demetrian 

ested in what was happening in the street to read 
it then. I thrust it in my wallet and saw without 
the help of the field glass that the street was full 
of armed men hurrying to the Liberty building, 
and upon their shoulders the badge of Demeter — 
a golden sheaf on a blue ground — was clearly vis- 
ible. Obviously, Balbus's attempt at rescue had 
failed, and instead of bringing back Chairo in 
triumph to the Liberty office, it was the special 
constables who were crowding to its doors. Soon 
I heard a rush of steps up the stairs; there was a 
fumbling at the door; the door was forced and 
there rushed in a number of men, one of whom 
recognized me. I explained the message from 
Chairo which I had brought to the office of Lib- 
erty and, without mentioning names, added that 
I had been bound and imprisoned there. The 
cords in the room and the abrasions on my wrists 
confirmed my story. I promised to hold myself 
at the disposal of the investigating magistrate and 
was given my liberty. 

The offices in which I had been confined were 
searched and every paper in them carefully col- 
lected. I betook myself at once to the chambers 
I shared with Ariston, but on the way I took the 
paper I had been asked to sign out of my pocket 
and read it. 

148 



Neaera's Idea of Diplomacy 

'' Dear Chairo: 

" Balbus has confined, bound, and gagged me. 
I owe my freedom now to Neaera, who will see 
that this reaches you. VERB. Sap." 

Not a word in this interesting document was lit- 
erally false; and yet it was obvious how falsely 
Neaera meant to use it. 



149 



CHAPTER XIII 

NEAERA MAKES NEW ARRANGEMENTS 

NEAERA left the building in which were 
the Liberty offices by an entrance on a 
street other than that which she had seen 
threatened by the constables, and hurriedly con- 
sidered where she could find a certain Masters to 
whom she had always determined to fly in case of 
defeat. Masters was a man whose career had 
greatly contributed to the particular phase of Col- 
lectivism which I found prevailing in the New 
England States. Originally the state had under- 
taken to monopolize manufacture, and for a long 
period — over a hundred years — had succeeded in 
giving general satisfaction. During the first cen- 
tury of CoUectivist existence so much time was 
spent in transforming cities that there was no 
leisure for individual enterprise; indeed, during 
this period the majority worked as hard as they 
had ever worked under the competitive regime; 
for although a half-day's labor only was exacted 
to earn a full share in the national income, an- 

150 



Neaera Makes New Arrangements 

other half-day's labor was asked and freely given 
to make those changes in the cities and towns 
which were obviously necessary under the new 
regime. And a certain exchange of occupation 
had taken place, masons and carpenters working 
all day at their respective trades, while others 
worked all day at theirs, extra wages being paid 
for extra work; these extra wages were applicable 
to the purchase of luxuries, the most laborious and 
the most thrifty thus reaping the reward of their 
labor and thrift. When, however, the cities, 
towns, and villages had been so converted as to 
furnish practically equivalent lodging to all, un- 
der conditions that were wholesome and with due 
regard to the demand for the beautiful that, 
though expressed in my time only by a few, is in 
fact latent in us all, there was no longer the same 
imperious call for extra labor on the part of the 
state, and the leisure enjoyed in consequence was 
soon employed in a manner not anticipated by 
socialists of my day. And Masters had been the 
first to inaugurate the new system. It happened 
in this way: 

The state had exposed itself to much criticism 
as to many of the things furnished by its factories 
and when Masters was still a youth of twenty-five 
years, the complaint on this subject became so 

151 



The Demetrian 

wide-spread that he set himself to correcting the 
evil. He was employed in a wall-paper factory, 
and wall paper was just one of the articles that 
had given rise to the greatest dissatisfaction; so 
one day when an artistic friend was mocking at 
the work the state factory turned out, Masters 
suggested that they should get a few others to join 
them in setting up a factory of their own. The 
experiment Vv^as looked upon at first as a piece of 
innocent child's play, but when some hundred 
young men and women actually succeeded in pro- 
ducing a wall paper so preferable to that manu- 
factured by the state that theirs alone was pur- 
chased and the state had to shut down some of the 
government mills, the question of the right of in- 
dividuals to compete with the state was brought 
up in the legislature, and the issue became suffi- 
ciently serious to drive Masters into politics for 
the purpose of defending what came to be known 
as " Liberty of Industry." 

The principal argument made against this so- 
called liberty of industry was that Masters and 
his fellow-workers were becoming rich. The 
money that formerly was paid to the state factory 
was now paid to them, and thus the accumulation 
of wealth became possible which it was the prin- 
cipal object of Collectivism to prevent. In vain 

152 



Neaera Makes New Arrangements 

Masters argued that they applied their leisure to 
the manufacture of wall paper not in order to be- 
come rich, but in order to have paper that suited 
their taste; that the real value of Collectivism was 
to provide all men with the necessaries of life so 
as not to subject poor men to a few rich; that so 
long as the state provided necessaries against a 
stipulated amount of labor it was quite immaterial 
whether a few chose by voluntary labor to pro- 
vide an article that was needed and incidentally 
increase their own wealth; and that such volun- 
tary labor benefited all. The cry against accumu- 
lation was too powerful to be silenced, and Mas- 
ters felt some concession must be made to it; so 
he consented to a proposition that all state money 
should have purchasing power only during a 
period of two years; under this system hoarding 
or accumulation would be prevented, because 
every two years the money so hoarded would be- 
come valueless — all money being paper and bear- 
ing a date, gold being used only by the state in 
foreign trade. 

This compromise was adopted, and the efifect 
of it was to give an immense impulse to private 
industry. While the question was being discussed 
few were willing to embark on an enterprise that 
might be declared illegal and be appropriated by 

153 



The Demetrian 

the state. As soon, however, as private enterprise 
was indirectly sanctioned by the passage of this 
law it became clear that any individual might 
devote his leisure to the production of anything 
not satisfactorily produced by the state, and the 
result of this new departure was considerable, for 
it not only greatly increased the total wealth of 
the community but it stimulated the state to main- 
tain and improve standards of manufacture, con- 
tributing all that is good in competition without 
tolerating those features of oppression and pau- 
perism which had made competition so evil in 
our day. 

And Masters became a great man in the com- 
munity; for not only was he regarded as the 
author of private enterprise, but possessing the 
powers of organization and the judgment in se- 
lecting his fellow-workers essential to success, he 
soon became the head of numerous enterprises; 
and although he was unable at first to accumulate 
wealth in the shape of money, he did accumu- 
late it in the shape of products of manufacture. 
Moreover, the fact that he could not accumulate 
it in the shape of money and that there was a 
limit to his power to accumulate it in the shape 
of products of manufacture, drove him to distrib- 
ute his earnings among his neighbors with a 

154 



Neaera Makes New Arrangements 

prodigality so lavish that, possessing a naturally 
generous heart and an attractive manner, he be- 
came a man of enormous — some men said undue — • 
influence in the state. Recently, too, owing to the 
establishment of a banking system, accumulation 
in private money became possible. 

Masters had never married. His interests 
were so various and engrossing that he had not 
felt the need of a wife. Nor was he ever at a loss 
for a companion; the bath was his club; and a 
short evening — for he was an early riser — was 
comfortably spent in the society of those with 
whom he dined at the common table. But he was 
by no means insensible to feminine charm, and 
Neaera had not ineffectually aired her graces for 
his benefit. 

Neaera had often decided that Masters was 
the best match in the country and had schemed to 
secure him; but she was aware of his sagacity and 
had so far refrained from any overture that might 
alienate him. She had, however, never failed to 
improve an opportunity for displaying her attrac- 
tions in his presence, taking care to keep re- 
ligiously away from him at such times lest he 
should guess the plot that lay at the bottom of all 
her performances. On more serious occasions she 
had had long and confidential conversations with 

^55 



The Demetrian 

him, chiefly on political subjects ; she had indeed 
been one of his political lieutenants, but when en- 
gaged in politics she had studiously avoided the 
slightest symptoms of coquetry. Masters, on the 
contrary, had often allowed her to feel that he 
would gladly have made their relations more in- 
timate. She had seen the big fish rise — a little 
lazily, it is true — at her cast; she had felt that 
upon a sufficiently dramatic occasion she could 
land him; and now it satisfied her sense of antith- 
esis that so signal a defeat as that of her party 
that day might be converted by her skill into an 
individual victory. 

It was about four in the afternoon — the hour 
when Masters should be leaving his office for his 
apartment. If she walked in the direction of the 
latter he would possibly overtake her; she did not 
wish to go to him; she preferred to meet him 
accidentally; it would not do for him to imagine 
she had counted on him. She walked, therefore, 
slowly and with a pretty air of concern along the 
street he usually took, wondering whether she 
would be favored by fortune before the arrest 
which she knew was being prepared for her. She 
felt that the events of the day would be likely 
to change the daily routine, even of so methodical 
a man as Masters, and was beginning to fear she 

156 



Neaera Makes New Arrangements 

would have to take refuge in his apartment, when 
she heard a step overtaking her, and to her great 
relief his big voice said: 

"Why, Neaera, what are you doing here? I 
thought you were in the thick of it? " 

Neaera looked up shyly and then down again. 

" I am afraid all is over," she said very low. 

" And where are you going? " 

'' I don't know." 

" Is there any fear of arrest? " 

Neaera brewed up a tear and cast an appeal- 
ing glance at him. She was one of those fortu- 
nate and dangerous women who could summon 
a tear to her eye without at the same time bring- 
ing blood to her nose and eyelids. 

" You must step into my apartment until we 
can take precautions," he said. 

*' I'm afraid I'll compromise you." 

'' Compromise me\ " exclaimed Master, *' nev- 
er in the world! And as for yow, I'll send for 
your mother." 

"Will you, indeed?" said Neaera, edging a 
little closer to him ; but she did not mean that he 
should do this. 

They were at his door then; and touching her 
lightly on the elbow he guided her past the por- 
ter's lodge, up the staircase and into his rooms. 

157 



The Demetrian 

Masters bade her sit down and tell him how 
matters stood. Neaera took care that her version 
of the story should, by keeping herself in the 
shade, throw the whole responsibility on Chairo 
and Balbus. Masters, however, plied her with 
questions which she parried with skill. At last 
Masters exclaimed: 

'' But you are blameless in the matter; they 
cannot mean to arrest you; and if they do, you 
will be immediately released." 

" I am afraid," answered Neaera, ^* you are 
inclined to believe others as frank and generous 
as yourself." 

" I don't understand," said Masters, a little un- 
comfortable under the flattery implied in Neaera's 
words — for he liked neither flattery nor those who 
used it. 

" I have not lived very long," said she, " but 
I have lived long enough to know that failure 
brings discord between the best of friends. I have 
believed that we could effect our reforms best 
through constitutional measures; and the very 
fact that I have been right will unite them all 
against me now. Of course I have done a great 
deal of the writing — generally at the dictation of 
others"; Neaera, as she said this, congratulated 
herself on having utilized the absence of all from 

158 



Neaera Makes New Arrangements 

the offices except herself in destroying every shred 
of paper that could compromise her, and even 
fabricating some that would exonerate her. She 
paused a little, and then went on: "I don't even 
know who has survived the disaster; some of them 
I could trust to the end; but others are capable 
of any treachery. And then mamma " — Neaera's 
chin twitched a little — " mamma does not know 
how far I am involved in the matter — and she is 
so alone " 

And here Neaera's grief became uncontrob 
lable; she jumped up from her chair and burst 
into a flood of tears. As she stood there, her face 
in her hands and her soft and rounded figure 
convulsed by sobs, compassion filled the heart of 
Masters; all his nascent fondness for her sud- 
denly burst into a flame; he went to her, took her 
by the shoulders, and said: 

" Don't cry, Neaera; I am very fond of you; 
it hurts me to see you cry; tell me about it; let 
me help you; I can help you and I will — if you 
will let me." 

As he ejaculated these sentences he gently 
pressed her shoulders to give emphasis to them; 
and Neaera yielded to his pressure, so that at the 
end she was very close to him and her bowed head 
rested against his breast. 

159 



The Demetrian 

When Masters felt the pressure of her head 
against him, a rush of love for her passed beyond 
his control. Looking down at her he observed the 
delicate whorl of a small ear like a pink shell and 
a soft neck so inviting that, bending his own head, 
he pressed his lips against it. 

Neaera burst away from him and threw her- 
self upon a chair. 

" Masters, Masters," she said reproachfully, 
" you should not have done that! " 

He had often heard stories of Neaera to her 
disadvantage and at that culminating moment her 
reproach became a conviction in him that those 
stories were false. She was looking at him now 
with tearful eyes wide open; Masters felt con- 
trite; he had taken advantage of her at a time 
when she was at his mercy; of a woman, too, 
whose talents and conspicuousness had made of 
her a mark for envy and malice; she was down 
now; anyone could hurl a stone at her; she had 
thrown herself upon his generosity, and he had 
responded by insulting her. There was only one 
reparation he could make, and that reparation his 
heart was already urging him to make. 

He threw himself on one knee by the side of 
Neaera as she sat, put both his arms on her lap, and 
looking straight into her reproachful eyes, said: 

i6o 



Neaera Makes New Arrangements 

" Only one thing could have justified it; I love 
you, Neaera; have indeed loved you long " 

Neaera bowed her head and said nothing. 

There was a long pause. But Neaera allowed 
him to remain there, very close to her, with his 
arms upon her lap. Then Masters moved his 
head slowly nearer to her until it rested on her 
bosom. And Neaera folded her soft round arms 
about his neck. 



i6i 



CHAPTER XIV 

" I CONSENTED " 

WHEN I reached our chambers I found 
them empty. At the bath, however, 
though Ariston was not there I learned 
the incidents of the day. Almost immediately 
after my interview with Balbus he had headed the 
attempt to rescue Chairo; it had been carefully 
planned, for exactly at three o'clock there con- 
verged upon the House of Detention from every 
side no less than six different lines of attack, which 
took shape only within a few yards of the house 
itself, so as to avoid conflicts at points other than 
the one upon which the attack was concentrated. 
But the cult had taken precautions. Some ma- 
chine guns had been put into position and Balbus 
and his followers were blown out of existence, 
leaving a mass of wounded men and but few 
unwounded survivors. The constables that day 
sworn in had at once repaired to the Liberty of- 
fices where I had met them. Ariston was doubt- 
less at that moment conferring with Chairo and 

162 



"I Consented" 

the authorities as to how far this act of violence 
was to afifect the procedure. 

Ariston did not appear at our chambers until 
after midnight, and he was then so weary that I 
did not press him for details. He informed me, 
however, that my message to Balbus would prob- 
ably constitute the pivotal fact in his defense of 
Chairo; that Balbus was shot to pieces; and that 
the question whether Chairo was to be kept in con- 
finement would probably be heard within a week. 

The next morning Ariston had a long confer- 
ence with me over the whole situation, which was 
a complicated one. The courts, though fair, were 
undoubtedly strongly Demetrian in their ten- 
dencies, and Ariston did not believe they would 
set Chairo at liberty; but he felt it his duty as 
Chairo's counsel to make the effort. Ariston did 
not conceal from me, however, his conviction that 
Chairo was insisting on the effort being made 
in order to use the decision of the courts on the 
political arena, where the issue must be ultimately 
decided. He, Ariston, doubted the wisdom of his 
appearing as Chairo's counsel under the circum- 
stances, for on the political issue Ariston would 
fight Chairo to a finish, and Chairo knew this. 
But Chairo had declined to release Ariston. He 
claimed that Ariston having offered to act for 

163 



The Demetrian 

him, and he having accepted the ofifer, Ariston 
was no longer free to withdraw except for better 
reason than he could give. 

The importance of the testimony I could give, 
and the fact that I was a lawyer admitted me into 
all the conferences that were held. Chairo's case 
was to come up on habeas corpus, and I undertook 
to prepare an affidavit as to the message sent 
through me by Chairo to Balbus. In the prepara- 
tion of this affidavit I was confronted with the 
question whether it was necessary to introduce 
Neaera's name; there was in me a strong repug- 
nance to doing so. If by involving Neaera I 
could save an innocent man I should have been 
guilty in omitting her intervention in my inter- 
view with Balbus; but the only person that to my 
mind could be affected by her intervention was 
Balbus, and Balbus was dead. Nor would his 
memory gain much by testimony that would tend 
to prove that the incriminating act was done at 
the bidding of a woman. 

Three days after Chairo's arrest I was still 
hesitating over this question when I received a 
message from Masters asking for an interview. I 
readily accorded one, and we met in Chairo's 
chambers which were put at my disposal during 
his detention. 

164 



^'I Consented" 

Masters opened the conversation by telling me 
confidentially that Neaera had promised to marry 
him, and that he was naturally, therefore, anxious 
to exonerate her from responsibility as regarded 
the rash attempt at rescue. I let him speak pre- 
ferring to hold my tongue till I learned the story 
Neaera had told him. He admitted that Neaera 
had taken a strong stand in favor of Chairo and 
all that Chairo stood for, but explained the enor- 
mous difference between constitutional opposition 
and appeal to force. Neaera had told him that 
no word of writing that she could remember — 
save such as might have been written at the dic- 
tation of others — could possibly compromise her, 
but that she did not know how far some of the 
survivors might not seek to escape punishment by 
throwing responsibility on her. Neaera had par- 
ticularly asked Masters to see me and find out how 
far this was to be feared. 

I recognized the fine work of our astute friend 
in the story told by Masters, and anxious to know 
just how far Masters was committed to Neaera, I 
asked : 

" When do you expect to be married? " 
Masters lowered his voice as he answered: 
*' Confidentially, we are already married. I 
found her wandering aimlessly about the street 

165 



The Demetrian 

expecting arrest; so I took her at once to Wash- 
ington and married her there. I have left her 
among friends in a neighboring state till this mat- 
ter blows over." 

The marriage having taken place, there vs^as 
clearly no duty upon me to enlighten Masters, so 
I said to him: 

" Assure Neaera from me that I shall keep 
you informed of how matters move and particu- 
larly if any witness testifies in a manner to com- 
promise her. No such testimony has been given 
as yet to my knowledge — but then, none of the 
survivors of the rescue party have yet been ex- 
amined." 

I worded my answer in a manner to reassure 
Neaera so far as I myself was concerned and Mas- 
ters left me satisfied. He deserved sympathy, at 
any rate. 

Ariston was extremely busy endeavoring to 
obtain affidavits from the survivors as to Chairo's 
non-complicity in the attack, and asked me there- 
fore to see Lydia and explain to her the impor- 
tance of silence at this juncture. Accordingly I 
went to see her and found Aunt Tiny in a state of 
great excitement. Lydia was ill and her mother 
was with her. Aunt Tiny wanted to take the 
whole matter on her shoulders. 

i66 



"I Consented" 

" Lydia will do just what I tell her to do," 
assured Aunt Tiny, nodding her curls gravely at 
me. 

" I think I ought to see Lydia myself if it can 
be managed," I answered. 

" But she is so ill." Her lisp was childish and 
I unconsciously smiled a little. My smile put the 
little woman in quite a flutter. 

*' I'll manage it," she said confidently. " You'll 
see; I'll manage it"; and the busy little body, in 
spite of her age, tripped out of the room. 

Presently she returned radiant. " It's all 
right," she said. "You can come; I told you I 
should manage it " ; and she showed me to Lydia's 
room. 

Lydia was lying on a couch with a shawl 
thrown over her knees; but the chiton loosely 
fastened over her right shoulder showed all the 
beauty of her bare arm. Very different, indeed, 
did she look from the girl I awoke to find bend- 
ing over me on the hill on Tyringham. The warm 
color of the sun had left her skin, which was now 
white and extremely delicate. Her head, then 
strong and erect, now leaned upon a pillow so 
gently that it seemed 

" A petal of blown roses on the grass." 
167 



The Demetrian 

Her mother was standing as I entered and pushed 
a chair for me by Lydia's side. I sat upon it, and 
taking Lydia's hand, kissed it. A tear came in 
her eye at this act of sympathy and she said: 

" I am glad you have come to see me." 

" I would not have dared to come," said I, 
" were it not that I have to warn you in Chairo's 
interest and in your own to say nothing for the 
present." 

"Say nothing!" she exclaimed, raising her 
head erect. "What! does Chairo wish me to say 
nothing when I can by a word exonerate him al- 
together!" 

" How so? " I asked. 

" I consented," she said. " If the charge is 
that he carried me away it must fall when I say 
that I consented." 

"Lydia!" exclaimed her mother. "Do be 
careful! Our friend here can be depended on; 
but such an admission might be used against you; 
it may be no crime in law to have consented, but 
in the cult you will be disgraced forever." 

" Then may I be disgraced," said Lydia de- 
spondingly. " I did consent; and Chairo must 
not suffer the odium of having carried me off 
against my will. Besides," added she, erect 
again, " I am not ashamed of having consented. I 

i68 



"I Consented" 

love Chairo. I am ready to declare it before the 
world. I was wrong when I accepted the mission 
and those around me should have known it. Not 
you, mother," added Lydia, as she saw her mother 
start, "not you, but the priests — they should 
have known it — they did know it — and yet they 
allowed me to accept the mission, loving Chairo." 

Lydia put out her arms to her mother, who 
bent over and kissed her. 

" The time will doubtless come," said I, 
'' when you will be able to vindicate Chairo. But 
at this moment I think, perhaps, it may be wiser 
to say nothing. Chairo does not wish to be re- 
leased. He wants the court to decide against 
him. Such a decision will constitute a grievance 
which will to his mind strengthen his cause with 
the people. I don't know," I added, smiling, 
" whether I am altogether on his side upon all 
the political issues he stands for; but I am on 
your side, Lydia. I want you to be happy, and 
much depends upon the circumstances under 
which your declaration is made. At this moment 
it may be wiser to keep silence; they cannot com- 
pel you to testify until Chairo is tried, and he 
proposes to postpone the trial, if he can, until the 
legislature meets. Masters is taking a vigorous 
stand in favor of Chairo, and he may carry a suffi- 

169 



The Demetrian 

cient number of votes to constitute a radical ma- 
jority. Up to the present time Masters has voted 
upon most issues with the government." 

Lydia listened to me with her long blue-gray 
eyes fixed on mine. It was a luxury to look into 
them. I thought I was no longer in love with 
her, but there was a fascination in those eyes to 
which it was a delight innocently to surrender. 

" Chairo is doubtless right," she said, " and 
you too." 

'' The priests will probably ask you for a dec- 
laration; you are ill enough to make illness an 
excuse for keeping out of the case altogether. My 
advice is not to antagonize them at this moment. 
You can let them know that you propose to make 
no affidavit whatever, neither on one side nor on 
the other — at present." 



170 



CHAPTER XV 

THE HIGH PRIEST OF DEMETER 

THE affidavits read before the court by 
both sides brought out the facts of the 
case in a manner to leave no doubt in a 
reasonable mind as to Chairo's guilt. It was true 
that the person who actually forced the gate of 
the cloister and overpowered the janitor remained 
unknown, but Chairo had been arrested in the 
act of flight and in the company of Lydia, whose 
capture was the only possible motive for the act. 
Then, too, on the evening that preceded the cap- 
ture a typewritten message had been received by 
the high priest of the cult informing him that 
Chairo's carriage would that night break down 
upon a certain road, and that the cult would have 
an interest in watching the event. Clearly, there- 
fore, the capture had been planned by Chairo. 
Then, too, for every affidavit read by Ariston to 
prove that the attack on the House of Detention 
had been arranged as well as executed by Balbus 
a dozen affidavits were read by the other side 

171 



The Demetrian 

showing the preparations for violence that had 
been made by Chairo prior to the carrying off of 
Lydia. The only question that the court had to 
decide was, whether Chairo's immunity from im- 
prisonment as a member of the legislature applied 
to his case; obviously he was an accessory to the 
crime after as well as before the fact, even though 
he were not guilty of the crime itself; and he was 
caught in the very act of carrying out the object 
for which the crime was committed — that is to 
say, the placing of Lydia beyond the reach of 
the cult. But Ariston argued that there was no 
obligation upon the court to hold Chairo; the 
matter under the peculiar conditions which pre- 
sented themselves was practically left to their 
discretion; and he appealed to them to liberate 
Chairo lest he should use his imprisonment as an 
argument before the higher tribunal of public 
opinion, to which the question must ultimately be 
referred. The court adjourned without render- 
ing a decision; and it was later arranged that 
Lydia be removed from New York and Chairo 
released on parole not to leave the city limits until 
the trial of his case. 

Lydia, therefore, was taken to the Pater's farm 
at Tyringham; and I gladly accepted an invita- 
tion to join the party there, which included Aris- 

172 



The High Priest of Demeter 

ton, Anna of Ann, the high priest of the cult, and 
a few others. 

I was much interested to learn there the par- 
ticular form of Collectivism which prevailed in 
the country districts of New England. The land, 
it is true, technically belonged to the state, but 
the enjoyment of it had never been taken from 
those farmers who were able and willing to pay 
to the state the amount of produce exacted by it. 
Assessors periodically visited every district to de- 
termine what crops the land was best fitted to 
produce, and what amount of the designated crop 
the occupying farmer should pay the state. The 
farmer was not bound to grow the particular crop 
designated, unless a shortage in a preceding year 
obliged the state to require a quota of the desig- 
nated crop. He was free to furnish the state some 
other crop according to a fixed scale, the bushel 
of wheat constituting the standard — a bushel of 
wheat being equivalent to so much hay, so many 
pounds of potatoes, etc. But the farmer generally 
grew enough of the particular crop designated 
to furnish the amount required. The state sug- 
gested the best rotation of crops and the farmer 
was left a certain choice. 

The working of the system was to eliminate 
173 



The Demetrian 

all the incapable farmers, leaving upon the land 
only the most capable. The eliminated were put 
to other employments. The surviving fit gener- 
ally enjoyed an enviable existence; for the ex- 
actions of the state w^ere not exorbitant, and it 
had become a rule that no farmer should ever be 
deprived of a farm so long as he paid the state 
contribution; thus, the state contribution was 
practically nothing more nor less than a state tax. 
The Pater had succeeded to his farm from his 
father, who himself had succeeded to his, so that 
the same land had remained in the same family 
since our day. There was no limitation of hours 
of work on the farm. The occupation was re- 
garded as so desirable that farm laborers will- 
ingly gave their whole time; for during the sum- 
mer their life was enlivened by the arrival of city 
dwellers, who occupied the colony buildings ad- 
jacent in the neighborhood; and in the depth of 
the winter, when the sporting season was over, 
every farm laborer had his two or three months 
in town. The owner of the farm, for so every 
farmer was still called, supported his own la- 
borers and supplied them with money for their 
annual city vacation. His own wants, including 
the wages paid to the laborer, were supplied by 
the sale to the state of the farm produce over and 

174 



The High Priest of Demeter 

above that required by the state for rent. The 
essential Collectivist feature of the system con- 
sisted in the fact that no man was obliged by the 
necessity of earning wages to work upon a farm. 
He could always refuse to work for a farmer by 
taking work from the state. Only those farmers 
who knew how to make their farms not only pros- 
perous but attractive, could secure laborers, the re- 
lation between a farmer and his hands being that 
of man to man rather than that of employer to 
employee. Indeed, it was the security every man 
and woman had of employment by the state that 
had caused pauperism and prostitution to disap- 
pear; and with them the dependence of one class 
upon another. In agriculture, as in manufac- 
ture, employment of one individual by another 
was a matter of inclination, not of compulsion; 
and under these circumstances every employer 
took care to make his employment agreeable and 
to share equitably with his fellow-workers the 
product of their joint labors. 

As soon as the hearing of habeas corpus pro- 
ceedings were concluded and Lydia was trans- 
ported to Tyringham she rapidly gained health. 
Chairo wrote to her daily the progress of his 
preparations for the legislature, which was to 
meet in a few days. He was assured of Masters's 

175 



The Demetrian 

support in favor of a bill of amnesty to all en- 
gaged in the carrying off of Lydia and the attack 
on the House of Detention, and this bill would 
constitute the first business to be brought before 
the Assembly. An identical bill would be intro- 
duced in the Senate, and eflforts were being made 
at once to secure the approval of the governor. 

Meanwhile we often had leisure at Tyring- 
ham for the discussion of the Demetrian cult, 
which had given rise to so great a tumult. The 
day that the high priest received intelligence of 
the proposed amnesty bill I asked him his views 
regarding it. 

The high priest was a tall, aged man, closely 
shaven — as indeed were all the priests — and very 
slow and distinct in his way of speaking. Though 
he occupied the highest function in the cult he 
was by no means its controlling will. On the con- 
trary, the Demetrian council was composed al- 
most entirely of women, that is to say, priestesses; 
but it had passed into a tradition that in order 
to avoid too great animosity on the part of the 
men, these last should be permitted a representa- 
tion on the council and the presiding officer and 
the head of the cult should be a man. 

The high priest answered my question with 
his usual deliberation and care: 

176 



The High Priest of Demeter 

'' I cannot tell you what my own views regard- 
ing this matter are; the subject will be discussed 
by the council and its argument presented in due 
time by its representative in the legislature, but 
I can tell you some of the things that occur to me 
in favor of this measure and against it: 

" In the first place, it is clear that whatever 
may be the merits of the Demetrian cult it is 
bound sometimes to occasion misfortune; misfor- 
tune is seldom distinguished from injustice, and 
so the cult is made to bear the brunt of every dis- 
appointment that results from the working of the 
system, whether it proceeds from unwisdom, ca- 
price, or accident. Now against caprice and acci- 
dent the cult is powerless; but as regards unwis- 
dom, whether it be in the council or in those to 
whom the council tenders the mission, the cult 
is responsible, and must be held responsible. 
Whether the misfortune in this case results from 
unwisdom or not is a question which I do not 
care to discuss; but obviously something has oc- 
curred that can be used to discredit our cult, and 
it is the part of wisdom to diminish the evil re- 
sulting therefrom to the utmost possible. 

" In the second place, there has been recourse 
to violence, and violence is the greatest crime 
against social welfare which any man can commit. 

177 



The Demetrian 

Are the persons guilty of this crime to be left un- 
corrected and free to frame new plots of violence 
against the state? 

" In the third place, a trial of all the persons 
involved in this matter is going to give rise to a 
great public scandal. The trial is essentially of 
a political character, and no political trial can 
be conducted impartially; the very fact that polit- 
ical prejudice enters into it necessarily impairs 
the impartiality of the court; and even if a fair 
court could be secured, the defeated political fac- 
tion would surely accuse the court of unfairness. 

'' All these things make the decision of this 
question complicated and difficult." 

" But," asked I, " does not the very fact that 
your cult raises these difficulties put into question 
the wisdom of the cult itself?" 

" Do you mean to say that in your opinion the 
mission of Demeter, with the beauty of its sacri- 
fice and the blessing it must eventually bring upon 
the race, should be abandoned because in a single 
instance it has crossed the passion of a Chairo? " 

" In the first place," asked I, " is it sure to 
bring a sensible benefit to the race? And in the 
second, is the sacrifice a beautiful one? Is it not 
rather inhuman and repulsive? " 

" I shall answer your questions in the order 
178 



The High Priest of Demeter 

you put them: Plato was the first philosopher on 
record who proposed applying to the breeding 
of men the same art as we apply to the breed- 
ing of animals— and he did not seriously propose 
it; his proposition was spurned, as you know, by 
all so-called practical statesmen up to the day of 
Latona, not because the evil attending the exist- 
ing system was not recognized, but because the 
remedy proposed seemed worse than the evil. 
And, indeed, if men and women were to be 
obliged to mate or refrain from mating at the 
bidding of the state, one may well ask whether 
life would not become intolerable to the point of 
universal suicide. The evil, therefore, remained 
unabated. Consumption, scrofula, cancer, and 
other unnamable diseases became rooted in the 
race on the one hand, and no attempt was made 
to compensate the evil by selecting according to 
art. Not only so, but the pauper proved the most 
prolific, the cultured the least prolific; so that the 
breeding of man— far more important to human 
happiness than the breeding of sheep— seemed 
contrived so as to occasion the minimum of good 
and the maximum of evil. There seemed to be 
only two ways to mitigate this curse: one, to re- 
store marriage to the sanctity it theoretically had 
under the canons of the church; the other, to ap- 

179 



The Demetrian 

peal to the self-sacrifice of a few gifted women. 
As to the first, Latona believed marriage to be 
degraded in great part through the inability of 
young men and women to choose their mates with 
wisdom, and she instituted therefore the system 
of provisional marriage, tolerable only in youth, 
and though possible in later years, tolerated then 
only under extraordinary circumstances. As to 
the second, Latona instituted the mission of 
Demeter. 

" It is not easy yet to draw any definite con- 
clusion from the practical working of the system, 
for it has not been working long enough. Never- 
theless, it would be impossible, I think, to find any- 
where a more hopeful band of youths than those 
to whose education Irene and her stafif are now 
devoting themselves. Indeed, wherever the cult 
is in operation the girls and boys who proceed 
from the cloister are, to my judgment, immeasur- 
ably superior in the average to any similar number 
drawn at haphazard from the community at large. 
And, indeed, how could it be otherwise? Hered- 
ity must in the long run count for a great deal ; and 
by securing to the Demetrian issue, not only the 
highest conceivable education and parental care, 
but a sense that they owe something more to them- 
selves as regards standard of conduct because 

i8o 



The High Priest of Demeter 

they owe so much to the state, we create an en- 
vironment which gives hereditary tendencies the 
best possible opportunities for development. 

" Now, as regards the last part of your ques- 
tion, my answer is a very simple one : The mission 
is beautiful only when wisely tendered and wisely 
accepted; when unwisely tendered or unwisely 
accepted it is likely to be, as you say, inhuman and 
even repulsive." 

" But how are you going to learn wisdom," 
asked I, " in a matter so difficult? " 

" Experience has already helped us, I think, 
to avoid serious mistakes except in such excep- 
tional cases as this of Lydia. For your attention 
has perhaps not been called to a profound dif- 
ference that exists in women little recognized in 
your day. This difference can, I think, beSt be 
defined as follows: some women are essentially 
wives, others are essentially mothers. Love is the 
key that opens the heart of the one, maternity the 
instinct that animates the other. You are a lawyer, 
are you not? Did you ever have any divorce 
cases? ' 

"Many!" 

" Ransack your brain, then, and see if you do 
not find there evidence of what I have stated." 

He paused; and there came back to me an in- 
i8i 



The Demetrian 

terview with a woman who complained that her 
husband did not wish her to have children; and 
as it was children she wanted — so she said — the 
husband was almost immaterial. There came to 
my mind also many women I had known for 
whom the husband ceased to have importance the 
moment a child was born. 

" Our art," continued he, " consists in selecting 
the women who combine willingness to sacrifice 
themselves with this maternal instinct; and not 
the maternal instinct alone — most women have 
this — but a maternal instinct that preponderates 
every other. We have made a double mistake 
in Lydia: her love for Chairo is the preponder- 
ing instinct; and though she has undoubtedly a 
strongly developed religion of sacrifice, she is 
also fond of pleasure. That pretty little tip-tilted 
nose of hers," he added, smiling, " should have 
warned us of this! " 



182 



CHAPTER XVI 

ANNA'S SECRET , 

I SAW very little of Anna during the first few 
days of my stay at the Pater's. Cleon had 
drawn a bad number and was therefore 
drafted on a detachment of workmen engaged in 
mending roads — a work all disliked, and as no 
one volunteered for it, it had to be apportioned 
by lot. Anna of Ann felt the absence of Cleon 
because, although he was young, he had attached 
himself to her and she had learned somewhat to 
depend on his companionship. In the absence of 
Cleon, therefore, I often joined Anna in her walks 
and became more and more charmed by her sin- 
gleness of purpose. She seemed indifferent to 
everything except her art, cared nothing for 
Chairo and his principles, had little conviction 
as regards the Demetrian cult, and absorbed her- 
self altogether in the joy to be derived from beauty, 
whether in nature or in man. The idea that 
there was something in man different from na- 
ture had become so familiar to this century that 

1S3 



The Demetrian 

the confusion between them from which the phi- 
losophy of our time was only just emerging seemed 
to her altogether impossible, and it was a hope 
of hers one day to compose a group or monument 
in which man with his faculty of subjugating the 
forces of nature to his use would be contrasted 
with these forces, typified either by animals or 
undeveloped human races. She had shown me 
several models upon which she was at work to 
typify these forces; among them I remember one 
of a negro kneeling, with wonder on his thick lips 
and a superb strength about his loins; she had 
modelled also a lion crouching at the bidding of 
an unseen hand; but I had seen no model of Con- 
quering Man. In an abandoned sugar house 
which she had arranged as a studio, however, 
were many unfinished busts hidden away which 
she did not show to me or to others, and there was 
a good deal of curiosity and some little chaff as 
to the secret so carefully thus concealed by her. 

One morning, however, that I had risen early, 
tempted by the bright sun of an Indian summer, 
I started for a short stroll, and passing Anna's 
studio was surprised to find a window open. 
Looking inside the window, I saw Anna so ab- 
sorbed on a clay bust that she had not heard my 
approach. I watched her work in silence without 

184 



Anna's Secret 

appreciating that I had surprised a secret, until 
moving a little I saw clearly that the bust on 
which she was working was a portrait of Ariston. 
Even then I was not clear that Anna had been 
hiding this portrait from us; it seemed perfectly 
natural that she should be engaged upon it. But 
when she at last perceived me she blushed scarlet 
and threw a cloth over it. 

" You have seen it," she said reproachfully. 

" Why not? " asked I. " It was only a portrait 
of Ariston." 

" Was it so like him that you saw it at once? " 

" Did you not mean it to be so? " 

"No!" she exclaimed, almost with temper, 
" and I did not mean you to see it." 

I apologized to her and suggested that she 
should join me in my walk; but she did not answer 
me at once; she moved about the studio as though 
agitated by my discovery, moving things aim- 
lessly, taking things up and putting them down 
again. I stood at the window waiting for an an- 
swer, for I did not wish to leave her in this dis- 
turbed condition. At last she looked me full in 
the face and her mobile lips twitched with ill- 
suppressed emotion. Had she known how little 
I suspected the cause of her trouble she need not 
have been so moved; but she had been so long 

i8s 



The Demetrian 

fighting against her love for Ariston that she 
imagined the discovery by me of the portrait had 
betrayed her secret. 

" You won't tell any one you have seen it, will 
you?" she said at last appealingly. 

" Certainly not," answered I. " But why are 
you so anxious to keep it a secret? " 

She opened her eyes at this question and then 
burst out, with a sob in her voice : 

" I would not have them guess it for the 
world." 

At last I understood: this bust was not a por- 
trait of Ariston ; it was a study for her Conquering 
Man, and she could not keep out of it the features 
of the one she loved. 

" See," she said, pointing to the corner where 
the uncompleted busts were hidden, " they all look 
like him ; even when I tried to model a face with- 
out a beard, expressly to escape this haunting 
thought, you can see it — somewhere in the brow," 
and she moved her hand over the brow. " At 
every attempt I make, something betrays me," and 
she sat down on a low chair and buried her face 
in her hands. 

I stood by her, not daring to intrude; and pres- 
ently she got up sadly and said: 

" Yes, I shall go with you — anything to get 
i86 



Anna's Secret 

away from it all " ; and taking her cap from a peg, 
closed the window, locked the door, and joined 
me. 

" I had half an idea," said I, as we moved 
toward the wood, " that you had a fancy for 
Cleon." 

Anna smiled. " Cleon is a sweet boy and I 
am very fond of him; I suppose he thinks he is 
in love with me ; but we are accustomed to these 
* green and salad ' loves ; indeed, we are taught 
not to discourage them. It is good for a boy like 
Cleon to be in love with some one much older 
than himself that he can never marry; it keeps 
him out of mischief and does no one harm. One 
day he will reproach me and tell me I have en- 
couraged him; I have not, you know, not the 
slightest; but he will say I have, and honestly 
think it for a few days; a little later he will get 
over it and be a good friend of mine to the end 
of my days." 

We had a walk in the wood that has remained 
in my memory as one of the sweetest hours I 
spent at Tyringham. She soon accustomed her- 
self to my knowledge of her secret, and this 
created an intimacy between us that was rare and 
pleasant. 

At that early hour the woods were dark and 

187 



The Demetrian 

fresh, and the light upon a meadow we were ap- 
proaching reminded me of a forgotten poet: 

" I knew the flowers ; I knew the leaves ; I knew 
The tearful glimmer of the languid dawn 
On those long rank dark wood walks drenched 
with dew 

Leading from lawn to lawn." 

I quoted them to her and she responded to 
them; wanted to know the poet's name and more 
of his work; and as the autumn mist lay heavy 
on the lower pastures and the heavy fragrance of 
the autumn woods filled the air, I repeated to her 
those other lines of his: 

" The woods decay ; the woods decay and fall, 
The vapors weep their burthen to the ground ; 
Man comes and tills the earth and lies beneath. 
And after many a summer dies the swan. 
Me only, cruel immortality consumes 
Here at the Eastern limit of the day " 

She put a hand on my arm and stopped me: 

'' What is that again, ' Me only, cruel ' " 

I repeated the line to her. 

''What a subject," she said; "not for a Ti- 
thonus — no; what a thought to work into my 
group! " 

I saw her meaning: Man might subdue Na- 
i88 



Anna's Secret 

ture to his use; what then? Was he to be never- 
theless forever consumed by immortality? Here 
was the limit to his triumph; its shadow and re- 
verse." 

"What is the meaning of it all!" she said. 
" We are unhappy, do what we may, and it is out 
of our very unhappiness that we find something 
that replaces happiness — a sort of divine sorrow." 

We had by this time traversed the wood and 
stood on a height which commanded the now 
deserted colony buildings. The sun was well up 
on the horizon; the birds hopping silently in the 
boughs, their spring and summer songs over; but 
the torrent filled the air with its noisy music as 
it dashed down the hillside, and beyond we saw 
it meandering in peaceful curves among the 
meadows. 

" It is very beautiful," she said. " After all, 
there is joy enough in beauty, and it is no small 
thing " — she was looking absently over the mead- 
ows as she repeated — " it is no small thing that 
we can by art add to it." 

" It is a mission of which you can well be 
proud," said I. 

She looked at me and smiled gratefully. 

As we returned I felt that she had shaken off 
some of the sorrow with which she had started. 

189 



CHAPTER XVII 

DESIGNS ON ANNA OF ANN 

MY Stay at the Pater's farm was altogether 
delightful, for most of the day was spent 
in shooting. October was the only 
month open to all; but one permit was given to 
every ten inhabitants during November, and as 
there were forty-four, including the Pater's fam- 
ily, on the farm, it was easy to spare one to me. 
The Pater's younger son Phaines had another; 
he was not only a keen sportsman but an agreeable 
companion, and we killed much game, great and 
small. During a period of twenty years the shoot- 
ing of bear had been prohibited, and now, with 
the extension of forests, bear had increased so as 
to be extremely plentiful. Deer, elk, caribou, 
moose, wild boar, and such destructive animals as 
lynxes, foxes, and wild cats, furnished all that a 
sportsman could ask in the way of variety. As 
the amount of game we killed far exceeded the 
consuming power of the neighborhood we daily 
telephoned to the County Supply Department for 

190 



Designs on Anna of Ann 

instructions where to ship it, and we received our 
pay therefor. 

During the winter, country people took their 
principal meal in the evening, the morning and 
midday hours being the pleasantest for being in 
the open air. The farm hands and we sportsmen 
took our luncheon with us and came home pre- 
pared for a large meal. Those who prepared the 
meal preferred to spend the dark hours from four 
to seven in the preparation of it, and to be free 
during the earlier part of the day. 

The evening passed pleasantly. Every large 
farmhouse — and there were few small ones, ex- 
cept such as were, so to speak, dependent upon the 
large — had a room with a stage, specially applied 
to music and theatrical performances; it could 
also be used for such indoor games as squash 
or badminton. In this room those who wanted 
to practice music, etc., would assemble, and 
here they would occasionally give performances. 
When these farms sent their inmates to the city 
for a few months in the winter, hospitality was 
gladly extended them for the variety of perform- 
ances which they could furnish; and by this ex- 
change of population, the city people going to 
the country to harvest in the summer, and the 
farmers going to the city for amusement and in- 

191 



The Demetrian 

struction during the winter, monotony of life was 
eliminated. 

One day when I was returning from a day's 
sport with Phaines, a buck packed on each of our 
horses, we were talking of marriage, and I asked 
him whether he did not intend to marry. 

" I want to marry very much," said he. 
. I looked at him inquiringly. 

'' I have asked Anna of Ann a dozen times to 
marry me and she won't," continued he. " I can't 
see why she won't, either; she doesn't seem to care 
for anyone else ; she might as well marry me, and 
then she could give all her time to that art of hers 
she is so devoted to." 

" But she would have to work some part of the 
day at the farm, wouldn't she? " 

" No; we are quite well enough off to let her 
give all her time to her art if she wanted to. It's 
this way: We have to furnish so much butter, or 
its equivalent in eggs, poultry, stock, etc., to the 
state for the amount of land we cultivate; then 
we have to support our farm hands, that is to say, 
either we have to give to each wages out of the 
surplus produce of the farm, over and above what 
we pay the state as rent, or we have to furnish 
the state extra produce for every farm hand we 
have. Well, our hands prefer the former of these 

192 



Designs on Anna of Ann 

plans. The amount we give each farm hand de- 
pends on the amount of the surplus; every one of 
us is interested in making this surplus as large as 
possible. In this way we really have a great deal 
more than we can spend, and I could easily afiford, 
out of my share of the surplus, to support Anna, 
so that she need not work at all." 

" You are very prosperous then? " 

" Yes, and why shouldn't we be? Now that 
we get grain at what it really costs instead of 
paying middlemen and speculators, railroad stock- 
holders, elevators, etc., etc., everything is half the 
price it used to be. Then we need never fear that 
no one will buy our produce. The Supply De- 
partment can always tell us just where what we 
have is needed, and pays us for it on the spot. It 
does the transportation; and so the state needn't 
ask us an exorbitant rent, and can always pay us 
a remunerative price for our surplus." 

*' But you don't suppose Anna of Ann would 
be induced to marry you just because you could 
support her, do you? " 

" She's a fool if she doesn't, as she apparently 
does not care for any one else." 

That night after dinner most of the party ad- 
journed to the music room, so I took a chair near 

193 



The Demetrian 

the Mater who was knitting by the big fire in the 
hall. 

A benign smile lightened up her dear old 
round face as she made room for me to get close to 
the fire. I was curious to know what she thought 
of Anna, and said to her: 

'' Phaines tells me he wants to marry Anna 
of Ann." 

" Isn't she foolish now not to marry him? " 
answered the Mater, putting down her work. " I 
am so fond of her, and Phaines and she would 
make an ideal couple. She could work all day at 
the art she is fond of and both ought to be as 
happy, all the year long, as larks in the spring." 

" I have sometimes thought," said I, wishing 
to draw the Mater out, " that Anna looked sad." 

'' Well, she is a genius, and all geniuses look 
sad sometimes. It seems as though somebody has 
to be sad in order that others may be happy. 
Now, I am glad I am a plain farmer's wife and 
don't have to be sad. And yet," she added, tak- 
ing up her knitting again, " I love to look at sad 
things. Have you ever seen Anna's statue of 
Bacchus? " 

I had seen it and wondered at it until it was 
explained to me that the better Greek notion of 
Bacchus as the god of enthusiasm had been re- 

194 



Designs on Anna of Ann 

stored to the Dionysan cult. Then I perceived 
that Anna had given to the wine god something 
of the discontent that lends charm to the statues 
of Antinoiis. 

" Anna's thought doubtless is," said I, " that 
the highest enthusiasm springs from a sense of an 
unsatisfied need." 

" Well, I like to look at it but I don't care to 
think about it. I like just to toast my toes by the 
fire these long winter evenings and know that our 
storehouse is full and our boys happy. But I do 
wish Anna would marry Phaines." 

Assuredly, thought I, man is a variable thing 
— constructed upon lines so different that it is sur- 
prising one variety of man can at all understand 
the other. And yet, in view of the variety of 
occupations in which man must engage if he wants 
to satisfy his complex needs, how fortunate that 
the Mater could be happy only on her farm, and 
Anna happy only in her studio! And for the 
Mater and Phaines the question of marriage with 
Anna was one that could tarry for its solution 
year after year; while for Anna, her love for 
Ariston tormented her life, intruded into her art, 
saddened and inspired it. 

I was interested, however, to discover that she 
had escaped from the thraldom of it for the time 

195 



The Demetrian 

at any rate; for on the next day, when I peeped 
into her studio early in the morning, she no longer 
threw a cloth over her clay, but, on the contrary, 
beckoned me in. 

And I saw dimly growing out of a gigantic 
mass of clay the noble lineaments of an old man 
with shaggy projecting eyebrows and a beard 
that rivalled that of the Moses of Michael An- 
gelo. 

" It is only the bust," she said. She looked 
very lovely as with suppressed excitement she ex- 
plained to me her thought, and her eyes usually 
dim grew bright. *' It is to be a colossal figure, 
standing; I think there is something in it that 
is going to be suggested by the Creator of the 
Sixtine chapel as he stands creating Eve; but then, 
too, I see in the clay before me something more 
kindly, reminding me rather of Prospero; and 
yet he is to be triumphant; I think one arm will 
be lifted, half in joy and half in benediction, but 
his brow will be thoughtful and sad." 

" And you have got rid of Ariston alto- 
gether? " asked I. 

She blushed and pouted a little. 

" You must never speak to me of Ariston again. 
I am glad to be free from him, in this at any rate 
— and it is your Tithonus that has rescued me. 

196 



Designs on Anna of Ann 

If I were to put a legend to this sculpture — of 
course, I won't — but if I were to do so, it should 
be ' Me only, cruel immortality consumes.' " 

" And yet this would express only a small part 
of the whole thing." 

" And that is why no legend should ever be 
attached to sculpture; sculpture must tell her own 
story in her own way — legends belong to litera- 
ture. Sculpture must owe nothing to any other 
art than her own." She was looking critically at 
the bust now, as though I were not in the room, 
but presently becoming conscious of my existence 
again, she added: "I value this legend because 
it started me on a new line of thought unhaunted 
by the old." 

For days Anna was so gay that I began to 
wonder whether Ariston had not lost his oppor- 
tunity, and I wondered so all the more when I 
saw little advances to Anna on his part unre- 
sponded to. One evening when he had felt him- 
self discouraged by her, he said to me: 

" I don't think Anna will ever care for any- 
thing but her art. I asked her to show me what 
she is doing and she refused — a little curtly, I 
thought." 

" My dear Ariston," answered I, " do you sup- 
pose Anna is going to fall into your arms the mo- 

197 



The Demetrian 

ment you open them to her? You have treated 
her for years as though she did not exist, and now 
you are disappointed because at a first lordly ap- 
proach she does not at once fall trembling at your 
feet." 

" Am I really such a coxcomb as that? " asked 
Ariston. 

" Don't take me too seriously," said I. '' All 
I mean to suggest is that if Anna is worth win- 
ning she is worth wooing; she is absorbed in her 
work — her life is quite filled with it — and if you 
want her life to be filled with you, you must take 
some little trouble and exercise some little pa- 
tience." 

Ariston laughed good humoredly, and asked 
me how Lydia was doing. I had seen little of 
her. We met at meal-time, but so many sat down 
to every meal that I seldom found myself near her. 
I knew that she heard daily from Chairo and 
wrote daily to him, but more than this no one 
knew. Ariston explained to me that the forces 
marshalled in opposition to one another were now 
fairly organized, but that it was impossible to 
tell with whom the victory would rest. The 
leader of the government, Peleas, was not a big 
man; on the contrary, many charged him with 
being narrow. He was bitterly opposed to the 

198 



Designs on Anna of Ann 

amnesty bill ; regarded Chairo as a firebrand who 
must be suppressed, and asked, if blood could 
deluge the streets of New York one day and am- 
nesty be voted to those responsible therefor the 
next, what security could the community hope for 
in the future? Would not such action serve to 
encourage all discontent to take the shape of riot 
and revolt? 

There was, of course, much truth in his view. 
The Demetrian council had met, but their deci- 
sion was kept absolutely secret. Irene had now 
altogether recovered and was expected to direct 
the Demetrian forces in the legislature; she would 
not, however, take the floor; it was considered 
that their spokesman ought to be a man. Ariston 
was disqualified by the fact that he was acting for 
Chairo; so they decided on an extremely judi- 
cious, though not very eloquent speaker, by name 
Arkles. Ariston returned to New York the next 
day. 



199 



CHAPTER XVIII 

A DREAM 

^ I ^HE day that Ariston left, the Mater sum- 

I moned me to her room to make plans for 
the day, and I found Lydia there, en- 
gaged in moving a bracket of beautifully wrought 
iron that she found too low. While I talked to 
the Mater I found my eyes following Lydia's 
movements as she stood with her back to me un- 
screwing the bracket from the wall. The Mater 
soon came to an understanding with me and left 
the room to attend to her household duties. I 
was left alone with Lydia. 

She had by this time unscrewed the bracket 
and was holding it higher up against the wall, 
estimating the height, prior to fastening it in 
again. 

" You will never be able to fasten it at that 
height," said I, " without a ladder." 

She looked round at me, still holding the 
bracket against the wall, and I wished I had the 
art of a sculptor to immortalize her as she stood. 

200 



A Dream 

She smiled as she said: " How about a chair, 
Xenos?" 

I immediately brought a chair to her. 

She stepped upon it but slipped. I was hold- 
ing the back of the chair, and as she slipped I 
put out my hands to catch her. For a moment 
I held her in my arms. She had stumbled in such 
a way that her head was thrown a little back over 
my shoulder, and before she could recover her- 
self her face was so close to mine that I could have 
kissed her with the slightest possible movement 
of my face. 

I thought that I had conquered the feeling 
which she had inspired in me the first moment 
I set eyes on her on Tyringham hill. But the 
blood, rushing through my veins, and my beat- 
ing pulses, as I held her for a moment in my arms, 
told me that I was still hopelessly in love with 
her. 

She seemed altogether unaware of it, for re- 
covering her balance she laughed a little, looked 
at me straight in the eyes, her brows a little lifted, 
and her lovely lips parted by a smile. 

" I slipped," she said. " Wasn't it silly of 
me!" 

And jumping on the chair she got to work 
again. 

20I 



The Demetrian 

I watched her work and drank deep draughts 
of delicious poison as I watched. 

As soon as she had finished she looked at her 
work critically and said: "That is very much 
better! " and turning to me, added, " Isn't it? " 

I could not help wondering whether she was 
as unconscious of the effect she produced as she 
seemed to be. But she gave me no chance of dis- 
covering, for finding I did not answer but stood 
there silent, like a fool, she added: 

" I must be off! Au revoirV^ and taking up her 
screwdriver and other things, went with the ap- 
pearance of utter unconsciousness out of the room. 

All that day my mind was haunted by her; I 
knew it was folly to harbor hope, and yet I har- 
bored it fatuously; her image came in and out of 
my mind as the sun on a rainy day in and out 
of the clouds, to delight and to torment. 

That evening the orchestra played a minuet 
of Mozart so charmingly that Lydia rose, and 
saying, " We really must dance to that," made a 
sweeping bow. 

I jumped up at the challenge, and soon eight 
of us were on our feet. Lydia was my partner. 
I was so absorbed by her every movement, so en- 
tranced by the occasional touch of her ungloved 

202 



A Dream 

hand, that I was aware of nothing else in the 
room. Surely, thought I, there never was a 
Tanagra figure to compare with hers. 

«When we separated for the night I was in a 
fever. It was useless to go to bed, and I went out 
into the bright cold air. I saw the light in her 
room and stood in front of it, cursing myself for 
a love-sick fool. But the cold drove me in — and 
to bed. For hours I tossed about, and sleep over- 
took me at last, but only to torture me; it played 
with me, threw me on my back, as it were, at one 
moment, only to jump me on my feet the next; 
and throughout it all I saw Lydia at odd in- 
tervals in every conceivable mood; now smiling 
and beckoning, now turning from me as though 
offended, and, again, treating me with indiffer- 
ence. But at last I seemed to have passed through 
a period of deep unconsciousness, for I woke sud- 
denly to find Lydia before me more lovely than 
I had ever seen her. I was not surprised — al- 
though I know I ought to have been — to find her 
in a dress that showed her bosom, her hair hung 
like a curtain of gold about her; her long eyes 
were wet with tears, and yet there shone out of 
them a light so mystic and divine that I threw 
myself at her feet. She held out a hand to me and 
lifted me up. I did not know the meaning of her 

203 



The Dcmetrian 

tears or of her graciousness, but as I rose nearer 
to her she smiled. In an ecstasy I touched her 
lips with mine; she did not withdraw them; nay, 
she kissed me on the brow and cheek, fond and 
despairing kisses, for her tears fell upon my face 
and they were warm. 

How loner did it last? Was it for a moment 
or for all time ? A blaze of light pouring through 
my window roused me. I jumped out of bed and 
looked stupidly out on the old sugar house that 
Anna had converted into a studio. It was noth- 
ing but a dream. 

" Nothing but a dream! " thought I exulting- 
ly. " But no one can ever deprive me of it. I 
have felt her kisses on my lips and her tears. All 
my life long that memory will belong to me — and 
suffice." 

I sat down, weak and tired, closing my eyes to 
recall the vanished dream; and it came back to 
me, every detail of it, so vividly that I jumped 
up from my chair with the thought that it was 
not all mere fancy; something had happened, 
something had actually happened, of this I felt 
sure, and was it possible — I hardly dared enter- 
tain the thought — was it possible she had dreamed 
also of me? 

I dressed automatically, breakfasted automat- 
204 



A Dream 

ically, strolled automatically about the grounds. 
I must see Lydia. I returned to the house, asked 
the Mater where Lydia was, and was told that she 
could be found in the room where she had been 
the previous morning. I almost ran there, and, 
on opening the door, saw her seated in a high- 
backed oak chair, very erect, with her hair about 
her and something resembling tears in her eyes 
as I had seen her in my dream. She had tapestry 
in her hands, but they rested idly in her lap. She 
did not move when I entered. She seemed to be 
expecting me. 

I advanced toward her slowly with something 
like awe in my heart. 

" Did you have a dream in the night? " I at 
last summoned courage to ask. 

She did not answer, and the look in her eyes 
baffled me. 

'' Did you dream of m^?" I asked huskily — 
almost aghast. 

Still she said nothing but kept fixed upon me 
her inscrutable eyes. 

I hardly dared to go on, but in my folly I con- 
tinued. 

" Did you " — stammered I — but I could not 
put my question in words. 

Tears sprang to her eyes, and she sat there just 
205 



The Demetrian 

as I had seen her in my dream, save that she wore 
the usual chiton. 

I was in an anguish of suspense, but it came to 
an end, for she shook her head sadly. 

"Don't!" she said. "Don't!" 

I fell at her feet and buried my head in her 
lap. She did not shrink from me. On the con- 
trary, I felt her hand stroke my head, and I knew 
it was not love but compassion. 

I knelt there a full minute, but even to the 
luxury of grief I had not the right to surrender. 
So I rose abruptly. I took her hand, kissed it, 
held it for a moment in mine, and said: 

" I shall not intrude on you again, Lydia; I 
love you consumedly, but I shall not intrude on 
you again." 

And laying her hand gently upon her lap I 
turned abruptly and left the room. 

Next day I left Tyringham. 

Almost the entire population of the farm — 
save only Lydia, her mother, and the few farm 
hands necessary to care for the stock — and these 
last had their holiday later — repaired to New 
York. Most of them went to the building in 
which lived Anna's family. Ariston and I re- 
turned to our old quarters. 

206 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE LEGISLATURE MEETS 

AT the first meeting of the Assembly — for 
the Legislature now sat no longer at 
Albany but at New York^ — Masters arose 
as soon as the opening formalities were over and 
read a bill of amnesty for all concerned in the 
so-called riot of the preceding month. He stated 
that an identical bill was being at that moment 
offered in the Senate, and moved a joint session 
of both houses to consider it. 

Peleas, the leader of the government, con- 
sented to the joint session, but asked that the 
matter be referred to a committee. He pointed 
out that the facts were not clearly before the 
house, and that it was essential that a committee 
should investigate the facts and present them in 
a report to the joint session. 

Masters opposed reference to an investigating 
committee. He contended that the very object of 
the bill was to prevent the issues, that had caused 
their streets to be stained by blood, from remain- 

207 



The Demetrian 

ing confounded by personal animosities. A great 
institution had been attacked; that institution was, 
in the opinion of many, of the highest social value. 
It was possible that in some respects it had a les- 
son to learn; it was important that the lesson be 
learned free from the heat of such bitter hatred 
as must result from an attempt to punish those 
who had been driven by misguided zeal to acts of 
violence. Already the investigation had shown 
how far the desperate effort of those implicated 
to shield themselves might distort facts; it had 
even been alleged — and his strong, honest coun- 
tenance glowed for a moment with indignation as 
he spoke — it had even been alleged that the whole 
responsibility for the attack rested not upon Bal- 
bus and his followers but upon a woman! He 
would not waste the time of the house now by 
pointing out the diverse reasons why an investiga- 
tion was to be avoided. Obviously, what the coun- 
try needed, and he thought he could say asked for, 
was oblivion. Why, then, an investigating com- 
mittee? 

Arkles next arose — and as he was known to be 
the spokesman of the cult he was listened to with 
breathless attention. He altogether appreciated 
the weight of the argument against an investigat- 
ing committee just made, but as had also been 

208 



The Legislature Meets 

justly said, it was possible that the cult had a 
lesson to learn. In order to learn that lesson it 
had to know the facts, and the facts had not yet 
been properly determined. Moreover, something 
was due to law and order. It might, in the end, 
be considered the better course to allow the pun- 
ishment which those involved in the riot had al- 
ready suffered, to suffice, and to allow oblivion 
to obliterate, to the utmost possible, the whole 
matter from their annals. But the state would not 
do its duty if it did not thoroughly investigate the 
crime it was condoning; and though he regretted 
to oppose a man who had always been regarded 
as a pillar not only of the government but of the 
cult, he nevertheless felt it to be his duty to sup- 
port the government in asking for the appoint- 
ment of an investigating committee. 

Masters, who in his heart, though he could not 
admit it to himself, feared the consequences to 
Neaera of an investigating committee, maintained 
his opposition; Chairo, also, who desired to avoid, 
at all hazards, the necessity of Lydia's appearing 
before such a committee, was opposed to the in- 
vestigation. Both were also influenced by the 
desire to carry the bill promptly by a coup de 
main, if this were at all possible. 

The motion of Peleas was carried by a large 
209 



The Demetrian 

majority, and the result produced much discour- 
agement in Chairo's ranks. Masters, however, 
immediately arose and moved that in view of the 
importance of the question and the impossibility 
of calmly discussing any other matter until the 
fate of the amnesty bill was settled, the house ad- 
journ, and not sit again until after the elections 
and after the joint session of both houses had com- 
pleted its mission. 

Peleas and Arkles both approved of this mo- 
tion, and the passage of it, with only a few scat- 
tering votes in the negative, to a certain extent 
restored the confidence of the opposition. For if 
the government to this extent recognized the im- 
portance of the issue raised by the amnesty bill, 
it was possible that in the end some compromise 
would be agreed upon that would give substantial 
satisfaction. 

Ariston took no part in this preliminary skir- 
mish. As we walked home together he expressed 
to me his satisfaction at what had occurred. Peleas 
had not displayed all the narrowness of which he 
was capable, and the judiciousness of both Masters 
and Arkles indicated a willingness on the part of 
both to bring the matter to a fair adjustment. I 
was myself, however, concerned by the probability 
that I should now have to appear before the inves- 

210 



The Legislature Meets 

tigating committee. My regard for Masters, as 
well as a liking for Neaera, of which, in spite of 
her duplicity, I could not altogether rid myself, 
made me unwilling to state all that had occurred 
when I conveyed Chairo's message to Balbus. I 
had hoped that the passage of the amnesty bill 
would have made the hearing of testimony un- 
necessary; so I asked Ariston whether I would be 
compelled to testify. To my great relief Ariston 
assured me that my peculiar position as a guest 
of the community, made it quite possible for me 
to ask and obtain a dispensation; he promised to 
arrange it for me. 

On reaching our quarters we betook ourselves 
as usual to the bath, which, at this season of the 
year, was warmed to a suitable temperature, and 
after our plunge, as we lay upon our couches 
smoking cigarettes, I asked Ariston whether he 
had seen Anna of Ann since our return to New 
York. 

" No," answered he, " it is difficult to see her; 
she is working all day at the factory, in order to 
earn a full month's holiday later; she is eager to 
complete the sculpture on which she is engaged; 
and that father of hers never invites any one to his 
house! " 

" I have never met her father," said I. " Her 

211 



The Demetrian 

mother I have seen at the Lydia's, but her father — 
what kind of a man is he? " 

" He is a miser! " 

" A miser! " exclaimed I. " In a CoUectivist 
state! How is that possible? " 

" It could not be possible in a purely CoUect- 
ivist state; but as soon as individual industry took 
an important development it became possible." 

I was not clear about this, and Ariston, seeing 
the confusion in my face, explained. 

" Take this case of Campbell's, for example " 
— Campbell was the name of Anna's father — " as 
soon as Masters got at the head of several in- 
dustrial enterprises and had obtained a valuable 
credit in the community, Campbell saw that there 
was here a credit to exploit and a real service to 
be rendered to the public, so he induced Masters 
to start a bank, and the bank of Masters & Camp- 
bell is known all over the United States. But 
Campbell can explain all this better than I can; 
and although Campbell never asks any one to his 
house, wc can ask him to ours; or, better still, we 
can ask the whole family to dine at Theodore's 
— you must see Theodore's; his restaurant is one 
of our institutions. Come," he added, " let us go 
at once to their building; we may catch Anna of 
Ann in the tea-room, and agree upon a day." 

212 



The Legislature Meets 

We dressed rapidly, and on the way I expressed 
my disgust at Anna's having to work in a factory 
when all her time might, under other circum- 
stances, be given to her art. 

" Are you quite sure," asked Ariston, " that the 
enforced rest from her artistic work is such a bad 
thing? How much of Michael Angelo's time was 
spent in the purely mechanical part of his art? 
Then, too, there is no reason why she should be 
compelled to work in the factory at all. Men are 
all obliged to give the required quota of work to 
the state, but women have always been granted dis- 
pensations, provided somebody undertook either 
to do their work for them or to relieve the state of 
their support. Now if Campbell were not a miser 
Anna need never do state work. And if Anna 
were to marry an industrious and capable man she 
need never do state work." 

I looked at Ariston significantly, and he caught 
my eye. 

" I saw Irene yesterday," he said, " and we 
spoke of it. She is a noble woman, and the eager- 
ness and delight with which she heard me speak 
of Anna made my eyes fill. She is altogether de- 
voted now to her work in the cloister; she is ab- 
sorbed in her boy, who seems to combine all the 
vigor of Chairo with her own gentleness; she 

213 



The Demetriaii 

teaches not only him but a class of boys of his age, 
and is doing a splendid work there. I have quite 
given up the idea that she will ever marry again." 

It was pretty clear that, although Ariston was 
willing to admit he had given up the idea of mar- 
rying Irene, he was not willing to admit that he 
was seriously entertaining the idea of marrying 
any one else. So I returned to our original sub- 
ject: 

"But how can Campbell hoard?" asked I. 
" Isn't your money valueless two years after its 
issue? " 

" Yes, but Campbell has made a money of his 
own; besides, before he did this, he hoarded gold." 

" But I thought all the gold was owned by the 
state and used exclusively for foreign exchanges? " 

" So it is — as currency; but the state could not 
refuse to allow skillful workers in the precious 
metals to exercise their skill in ornaments, and so 
there comes into the market not only state manu- 
facture of gold and silver, but also for some years 
past the products of individual enterprise. Don't 
you remember the beautiful necklace Neaera 
wears? Lydia, too; even Irene wears a heavy 
bracelet of solid gold." 

" And do you mean to say that Campbell 
hoards ornaments? " 

214 



The Legislature Meets 

" My dear fellow, there is nothing unusual in 
hoarding ornaments; most of the wealth of the 
Rajahs at the time of the conquest of India con- 
sisted of ornaments and precious stones; and later, 
the hoarding of ornaments by the natives consti- 
tuted one of the financial difficulties with which 
the English Government had to contend. Then, 
too, a miser is not actuated by intelligence; he is 
the slave of an instinct — the hoarding instinct. 
He must hoard something, and as there is no 
gold coin to hoard, Campbell hoards gold orna- 
ments." 

We found that both Ann and Anna had left 
the tea-room, so we ventured to the inhospitable 
door of their apartment. Anna opened it to us 
and ushered us into a room where her father was 
sitting. He was a small man with an intelligent 
face, but the hair grew on his head in a manner 
that was characteristic; some people would have 
called him bald, but he was not bald; the hair was 
extremely thin, so thin that it gave his scalp the 
appearance of not being perfectly clean. He 
greeted us courteously and inquiringly, as though 
we could not have called upon him except for 
some definite purpose. So Ariston at once sug- 
gested that he and his family should join us that 
evening at Theodore's. 

215 



The Demetrian 

^' We should be delighted," said he. " But we 
are expecting our boy this evening — Harmes." 

Harmes was the young man who had been con- 
victed of using violence with Neaera and had been 
sent to the Penal Colony. 

" You will want to spend your first evening 
with Harmes en famille,'" said Ariston, " so let us 
say to-morrow." 

Campbell consulted his wife, and accepted. 

''When does Harmes arrive?" asked Ariston. 

" We are expecting him every moment," an- 
swered Campbell. 

" To-morrow, then, at Theodore's at seven," 
said Ariston, and we left. 

The absence of all shame as to the imprison- 
ment of Harmes struck me as remarkable, but 
Ariston soon set me straight. 

" You are possessed by the notions that pre- 
vailed in your day — notions that resulted in great 
part from the fact that most of your criminals were 
poor and dirty. Your system created a residuum 
— a criminal class — as surely as the thresher by 
sifting out the wheat leaves behind the residuum 
we call chafif. And the residuum of your com- 
petitive system, which recognized practically only 
one prize (that is to say, money), necessarily con- 
sisted of those who being unable to earn this prize 

216 



The Legislature Meets 

became destitute; of these the most enterprising 
were criminals, the least enterprising, paupers. 
This is the state of things to which Collectivism 
puts an end. Because all work for the state all 
are entitled to an equal share in the national in- 
come; there are no destitute, no paupers, no crim- 
inal class. Indeed, it may be said that the crim- 
inal, such as you were accustomed to see him in 
your police courts, does not exist among us at all. 
Occasionally a man is tempted beyond endurance, 
as in the case of Harmes, or in the case of Chairo 
and his confederates. But if Chairo were con- 
victed and sent to a penal colony, he would on his 
release recover the social position to which he was 
by his conduct entitled without regard to the fact 
that he had served a term. No one would think 
of applying the word ' criminal ' to either Chairo 
or Harmes. Of course there are men born 
among us, as among you, with what may be 
termed truly criminal instinct — moral perverts 
who take pleasure in causing pain. Such are 
rarely curable. They seldom return to social 
life. They are treated like lepers. We try to 
make their lot as little wretched as we can. But 
we recognize that the happiness of the entire 
community must be preferred to that of these 
exceptions; they are kept in confinement, and 

217 



The Demetrian 

above all, they are not allowed to perpetuate the 
type." 

There was nothing new In all this. We were 
as familiar In my day with this reasoning as Aris- 
ston. But we were dominated by our Institutions, 
our penal codes, our criminal lawyers, our prisons, 
and, above all, our amazing doctrines of indi- 
vidual liberty, which vindicated it for the crim- 
inal and disregarded It for the worklngman. So 
that the Industrious were bound to as enforced 
labor as the convict all the time, whereas the con- 
vict was periodically let loose on the community 
to idle and to steal. 



218 



CHAPTER XX 

ON FLAVORS AND FINANCE 

NEXT evening we met at Theodore's res- 
taurant and sat down to a dinner, which 
reminded me of the best I had ever 
tasted in Paris. 

Theodore himself was a type. Rather short 
in stature and stout, he had a large head off which 
was combed thick hair, treated very much as a 
sculptor would treat hair in a monument. For 
Theodore took himself very seriously. He be- 
lieved gastronomy to be one of the fine arts, and 
that he was its high priest. He would never 
allow any one to joke about it, and admitted to 
his restaurant only those who behaved toward 
him with the respect to which he felt entitled. 

He received us at the door with a napkin over 
his arm, for of this napkin he was as proud as a 
British peer of his robes; it was the emblem of 
his art, and as such he bore it proudly. Ariston 
greeted him and introduced us to him each by 
name. He bowed at every introduction. 

219 



The Demetrian 

" And now," said Ariston, turning to us, " you 
have before you the greatest culinary artist in the 
world." 

Theodore smiled sadly — as indeed he might — 
for possessed of the finest palate in New York, he 
had for years been confined, by an ungovernable 
indigestion, to a milk diet. 

Theodore showed us to a private room, and 
explained that he meant to open the ceremonies 
with a pot au feu garbure, and that the cheese 
used on the toasi: had just arrived from France. 
He left us to seat ourselves, and very soon after 
we were settled, the door was thrown open by his 
son and Theodore appeared, with an air of almost 
stern solemnity, holding a silver soup tureen in 
both hands, the inevitable napkin on his arm. He 
placed the soup tureen on a side table, lifted off 
the lid, and with religious care ladled the soup 
into plates, carefully providing that each had his 
share of the preciously prepared toast. 

A chorus of approval from us brought the sad 
smile back into his face again, and as we sat he 
told us that he had ^' created " a new dish for us. 
He was very particular about the use of this word 
*' created." He kept a list of his special dishes, 
and Ariston told us afterwards that he had once 
asked Theodore for this list, describing it as the 

220 



On Flavors and Finance 

list of his inventions. Theodore had offendedly 
corrected him. " Creations^ you mean." The dish 
he had created for us that day was a pheasant 
stuffed with ortolans, all cooked in their own juice 
— braise — over a slow fire during six hours. He 
explained that it was a great mistake to roast 
pheasants. For those who insisted on his roasting 
them he provided himself with vine twigs (sar- 
ments) , the fire made with them imparting a subtle 
flavor to the meat. But the meat of a pheasant 
though delicious was dry, and the method he had 
adopted was altogether the best for bringing out 
the full meaning of the bird. The same was true 
of ortolans. 

Theodore did not appear more than twice: at 
the opening ceremony of the soup and at the 
climax — the newly created combination. While 
we were partaking of this last, he told us of a great 
discussion that was about to be settled as to the 
respective flavor of three kinds of mutton. He 
had been enlisted on the side of the Long Island 
breed, and had that day selected the sheep which 
was to have the honor of representing Long Island 
interests. He explained that much depended on 
the choice of the animal. In his selection he had 
picked out one upon whose hind legs were the 
tooth marks of the shepherd dog, for these marks 

221 



The Demetrian 

showed him to be so keen on sweet pasture that it 
took an actual bite to drive him from it. 

Theodore was a determined individualist and 
warm supporter of Chairo's. It was insufferable, 
he said, that an artist like himself — and bowing 
condescendingly to Anna, he added — " and our 
young lady, too " — should have to work half the 
day for the state, when under individualistic con- 
ditions thousands of rich men would have been 
delighted to cover him with gold in recognition 
of his services. I could not help thinking of a 
distinguished cook I had known in Paris once 
who, under these very individualistic conditions, 
had struggled with debt all his life and never 
escaped from it. 

After Theodore had served the birds he with- 
drew. We were enjoying the dish when Anna 
surprised us by saying, as though she had just 
made the discovery: 

"This is really quite nice!" 

" Why, my dear child," said her father, " it 
is a chef d'ceuvre\ What have you been thinking 
about all this time? " 

"I have been looking at Theodore; do you 
know, he has a good head to sculpt." 

We all laughed at this view of Theodore, and 
Harmes said: 

222 



On Flavors and Finance 

" This kind of thing is rather a jump from 
what we have at the colony." 

'' Is the food bad there? " asked I. 

"No, not bad; but nothing nice until we can 
afford to pay for it with the wages we earn." 

This led to a long account by Harmes of how 
the colony was managed and the system — often 
proposed in my day — for slowly restoring the 
inmates of a reformatory to social life. 

Harmes spoke so freely of the whole subject 
that I ventured to ask him : 

" And Neaera — was it her fault or yours? " 

Harmes' eye flashed a moment, and then look- 
ing around the table, and finally at Ariston, asked: 

'^ Can I speak freely? " 

" Certainly," said Ariston. " Our friend here 
knows, perhaps, more about Neaera than you do." 

"Am I to condole with you, then?" asked 
Harmes. 

" No," I answered. " I had the advantage 
over you of age and experience." 

" She is a little devil," said Harmes. " And 
the devil of it is that if I were to see her to-mor- 
row I believe I should want to make love to her 
again." 

"Harmes!" exclaimed his mother protest- 
ingly. 

223 



The Demetrian 

" Oh, I have learned my lesson! I won't make 
love to her again; but the amazing thing is that 
after all she has cost me I cannot make up my 
mind to dislike her as I ought." 

" You needn't dislike her," said Ariston, " any 
more than you need dislike a stone that breaks 
your leg." 

" I cannot but think, however," said Camp- 
bell, *' that the punishment was out of proportion 
to the ofifense." 

" No," said Ann, to my great surprise. " You 
must not say that. No one has suffered more from 
Harmes' confinement in the colony than I, and 
yet I am bound to say that violence is to my mind 
— and to the mind of all of us women — so danger- 
ous a thing that I prefer my son should be an in- 
nocent victim than that it should go unpunished." 

We had a delicious bottle of California Bur- 
gundy with our birds, and I asked whether this 
was provided by the state. 

" Fortunately," said Campbell, " the state has 
never taken the vineyards out of the hands of those 
who owned them at the time of the new constitu- 
tion. It monopolizes the distillation of liquor, but 
all wines not containing more than six per cent al- 
cohol are produced by individual enterprise. The 
owners have to contribute a stipulated quota to the 

224 



On Flavors and Finance 

state, as in the case of all agricultural products. 
The surplus belongs to them; but as the money 
they get from the state has no value two years after 
issue, we find in this very class the best customers 
for our bank." 

We had by this time finished our dinner; the 
coffee and cigars were before us, and the company 
settled themselves for a long talk on the working 
of their system, all of which was of great interest 
to me, a traveller from the past. 

The minutes passed rapidly in this interesting 
exchange of experiences until Anna and Ann, who 
had long shown signs of ennui, arose to depart, and 
Ariston, noting their desire to leave, paid the bill 
and we left. 



225 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE 

MEANWHILE, the investigating commit- 
tee had been appointed, and the day 
came when witnesses were to be exam- 
ined. The committee sat in the afternoon only, so 
as to make it possible for all to attend without 
sacrificing their state work. Masters, of course, 
was there, Chairo, too, and Ariston, who con- 
tinued to act for Chairo. Ariston had consulted 
with me as to the wisdom of preparing Masters 
for the testimony implicating Neaera, which we 
knew would be elicited. But I preferred to allow 
events to take their course. 

The first witness called was one of those who 
had attacked the House of Detention and been 
wounded. He had clearly remained devoted to 
Chairo; for to every question put to him, which 
tended to implicate Chairo, he displayed astonish- 
ing forgetfulness; but as soon as the examination 
bore upon my interview with Balbus, at which he 

226 



The Investigating Committee 

had been present, he stated every circumstance ex- 
actly as it had happened, except that he was, per- 
haps, more severe on Neaera than she deserved. 

" She would not allow Balbus to speak," he 
said. " She walked right over from the corner 
where she was writing and wouldn't allow Balbus 
to say a word." 

He even insisted that it was Neaera who had 
ordered my arrest, and personally supervised the 
act of binding me to the chair. 

Masters' brow grew dark at this attack on 
Neaera, and he undertook to cross-examine the 
witness, but did it clumsily and ineffectually. His 
principal effort was to induce the witness to admit 
that Neaera had already received orders from 
Chairo that an attempt at rescue was to be made 
whatever apparently contradictory messages might 
be received, whether purporting to come from 
him, Chairo, or from others. 

This line of cross-examination incensed Chairo, 
who was indirectly charged by it with having sent 
me on a message for the purpose of assuming an 
air of innocence, when he all the time intended the 
attempt at rescue to be made. 

Ariston with great difficulty kept Chairo from 
angry interruption; and on redirect examination, 
which he was allowed in Chairo's interest to con- 

227 






The Demetrian 

duct, strengthened the evidence of Chairo's good 
faith. 

The next witness was clearly of Hibernian de- 
scent, for he at once took the entire committee and 
audience into his confidence. " I'll tell you all 
about it," he said. " I'm the janitor of the ' Lib- 
erty' offices, and I know all about it from the 
beginning." 

He then proceeded to give a complete history 
of his own life from the earliest years he could 
remember, and he assured us that he would go still 
further back if he could; that he had nothing to 
conceal from the committee, and would tell them 
" all about it from the very beginning." 

Over and over again he was interrupted by the 
committee, who complained of the irrelevancy of 
his testimony. " And would you have me hold 
anything back? " he said indignantly. " Haven't 
I sworn to tell the whole truth as well as nothing 
but the truth?" 

" We only want to hear you in connection with 
the organization and arming of forces by Chairo 
with a view to violence and the subsequent attempt 
upon the House of Detention." 

" And haven't I known Chairo all my life," re- 
sponded the witness triumphantly, " and isn't that 
just what I'm telling you? Just leave me quiet," 

228 



The Investigating Committee 

he added, " and I'll tell you the whole thing from 
the beginning." 

The committee, thinking time would in the 
end be saved, gave the witness rope, of which he 
was not slow to take advantage, for he interlarded 
his narrative with stories so comic that the com- 
mittee was at last obliged to interfere again. But 
his wit was equal to every emergency, and after 
an hour spent in the futile effort to extract infor- 
mation from him, he was released. A broad wink 
at Chairo as he left the witness box set the audi- 
ence in a roar, but did not help Chairo's case. 

The third witness was another of the party 
which had attacked the House of Detention, and 
he clearly was actuated by no desire to shield 
Chairo, for he testified to details so damaging to 
him that no one had any longer any doubt as to 
Chairo having organized a vast conspiracy against 
the state. He had himself been one of Chairo's 
lieutenants, and he gave the names of the men 
that had joined him, the weapons that had been 
secured, the date of his first instructions from 
Chairo, and their tenor; in fact, nothing was left 
untold. He was not present when I carried 
Chairo's message to Balbus. 

Ariston cross-examined him with great skill, 
tripped him up as to some of his dates and details, 

229 



The Demetrian 

and even threw sonae confusion into his testimony 
regarding the character of the instructions. But 
as to the main facts his testimony was unshaken. 

The examination and cross-examination of 
these three witnesses occupied the whole of the 
first day; and as Chairo, Ariston, and I returned 
slowly to our quarters we found it difficult to 
speak. Chairo was still angry with Masters, and 
expressed himself on the subject in a few explosive 
sentences. Ariston reminded Chairo that Masters 
was an old admirer of Neaera's, and I felt almost 
guilty at withholding from them that he had ac- 
tually married her. 

After our plunge, Ariston and I brightened 
up a little, but Chairo remained profoundly de- 
pressed. 

" The fact is," he said, " I am beginning to 
look at things from a different point of view. This 
military organization of ours was a gigantic mis- 
take." 

^' Violence can only be justified," said Ariston, 
" by some public necessity or injustice; no isolated 
personal grievance can possibly justify it." 

" We thought that this whole Demetrian cult 
had become a social evil, but others evidently do 



not." 



Chairo's manner had so changed from what it 
230 



The Investigating Committee 

was when I first met him among the hills of 
Tyringham that my mind was set upon inquiring 
as to the cause, and I could not help suspecting 
that his misgivings were for the most part due to 
Lydia. 

I felt that I was de trop and found some excuse 
for leaving them. 

Later Ariston told me that although Chairo 
was profoundly discouraged, strange to say, he 
had expressed little concern about himself or his 
political aims; what he used to describe as "The 
Cause," and really meant his own ambition, seemed 
to have entirely passed out of his mind; his whole 
concern now was for Lydia. 

The examination of witnesses during the next 
few days resulted in a confirmation of all the facts 
brought out on the first day; Chairo had clearly 
undertaken a vast and dangerous conspiracy 
against the state ; he had, in good faith, sought at 
the last moment to prevent violence, and Neaera 
was wholly responsible for the attempt at rescue. 
Masters and his following alone persisted in en- 
deavoring to shield Neaera. According to them, 
instructions had been given by Chairo to both 
Balbus and Neaera that in case of any accident 
happening to himself, the attempt was to be made 
to rescue him, and that this attempt was to serve 

231 



The Demetrian 

as an excuse for the violence which they felt in- 
dispensable to the defeat of the Demetrian cult. 

As the examination was drawing to a close, 
Ariston pointed out to me that I was probably the 
only man who could persuade Masters of his mis- 
take; he also urged that not only Chairo's fate 
hung in the balance but Lydia's also. 

Ariston told me that Lydia's letters to him 
plainly showed that her own hopes as to the pass- 
age of the amnesty bill had come to an end, and 
that the subject under discussion between them 
now was what they should do in case the amnesty 
bill was not passed. 

While we were talking over the matter in our 
apartment, we were astonished to receive the visit 
of Masters, for of late Masters had failed to recog- 
nize any of our party in the courthouse, and we 
feared that the issue regarding Neaera's responsi- 
bility had occasioned a permanent break in the 
ranks of the opposition. 

When Masters entered the room he made no 
pretense of cordiality; he apologized convention- 
ally for intruding, and explained that his visit was 
due to a letter received from Neaera that day, in 
which she had urged him to see me, as she was 
convinced I could set his mind at rest regarding 
her innocence. 

232 



The Investigating Committee 

I perceived without difficulty that Neaera 
must have been reduced to desperate straits in 
order to have recourse to such a reckless measure, 
and that the correspondence between Masters and 
her must have betrayed considerable doubt in 
Masters's mind as to the truth of her statements 
concerning her connection with the business. I 
was determined to learn from Masters as far as 
possible what was his present attitude to Neaera. 
So I asked : 

" You have heard the witnesses ; what is your 
own impression of the matter? " 

" You could not expect me to believe them, 
could you? " 

There was an expression of agony on Masters's 
brow which made me feel strongly drawn to him. 

" Shall Ariston stay while we talk about this? " 
asked I. 

" Yes," said Masters, turning to Ariston. '' It 
is well that you should know that Neaera is my 
wife." 

Ariston put up both hands with an involuntary 
expression of dismay, the significance of which 
Masters did not fail to take in. He looked at me 
half in despair, half in inquiry. 

" Ariston understands now," I said, " why you 
have undertaken to vindicate Neaera." 

233 



The Demetrian 

" I should have undertaken to vindicate her in 
any event," answered Masters. " She is a woman, 
and a concerted effort is being directed toward 
making a scapegoat of her." 

" The witnesses," I answered, " are certainly 
unanimous on the subject." 

" From what you say," Masters said, " I gather 
that you do not disbelieve them." 

The veins in Masters's forehead were swelling 
with the effort he was making to hide his indigna- 
tion. 

" I have been at great pains to be released 
from the obligation of testifying," I answered, 
" because I have not wished to injure her, because, 
above all," I added, " I have not wished to injure 
you." 

We had remained standing during this conver- 
sation, but when I said this — and in saying it I 
tried to make Masters feel that I was sorry for 
him — he turned away a little and sank sideways 
upon a chair. He leaned one arm on the back of 
it, bowing his head upon his hand, and after a 
moment's pause turned to me again; his face was 
white now. 

" If that is your reason for not testifying I am 
obliged to you," he said. " But which is your real 
reason — to spare Neaera or to spare me? " 

234 



The Investigating Committee 

" I have no more reason for sparing Neaera 
than that she is a woman; I have every reason for 
sparing you." 

Masters looked at me inquiringly. 

" I have nothing to conceal from you," I con- 
tinued. 

" Then tell me just what happened," answered 
Masters. 

I took a seat and so did Ariston, and thought 
for a moment how I could tell the facts in so far 
as they concerned the attempt at rescue without 
disclosing Neaera's designs upon myself. I con- 
fined myself to the part she played when I gave 
Chairo's message to Balbus. 

" Might not this have been done by Neaera," 
asked Masters, " in compliance with a prior un- 
derstanding with Chairo? " 

" I cannot believe," said I, " that there was any 
such understanding; indeed, I am convinced that 
if Neaera was not herself the cause of Chairo's 
capture, she was a party to it." I told then the 
story of the tampering with Chairo's carriage. 

*' Could not this, too, have been a part of the 
plot? " pleaded Masters desperately. 

" A part of Neaera's plot, not a part of Chai- 
ro's. No one can talk ten minutes with Chairo 
now without being convinced that his first object 

235 



The Demetrian 

was to get possession of Lydia; the political in- 
trigue in the latest stage of the affair became 
altogether a secondary matter." 

" Neaera was not," interrupted Ariston, 
*' pleased with the role Lydia played in the mat- 
ter. At one time there was no small intimacy 
between Chairo and Neaera; Neaera is not a 
woman to see her place taken by another with- 
out vindictiveness. In preventing the escape of 
Chairo she was serving a double purpose; she 
kept the issue alive, and she satisfied a personal 
pique." 

Masters looked at me as though to learn my 
opinion on this view. 

*' I gathered this : from a few words Neaera 
dropped after she had set me free," I said; ''she 
told me that all Chairo wanted was Lydia." 

Masters jumped up from his chair. 

" Then you would have me believe," said he, 
" that my wife is a vixen ! " 

At this I jumped up too. 

" Masters," I said, " I have told you the facts 
because I felt you were entitled to them. If you 
cannot stand hearing the facts you should not 
have asked for them." 

There was a moment when it seemed doubt- 
ful whether we might not come to blows ; but the 

236 



The Investigating Committee 

flash went out of Masters's eye as he looked at me, 
and presently he held out his hand to me and said: 
" I am sure you have intended to render me a 
service, and I suppose in the end " — he paused a 
moment as he shook my hand, and added — " in 
the end it will prove to be so." 

Then, taking up his cap and cloak, he said : 
" At any rate there need be no hard feeling 
between myself and Chairo, but I am a little dazed 
by what I have heard, and so I shall ask you both 
to keep this interview confidential for a time. In 
a few days I shall know better just how to act." 



237 



CHAPTER XXII 

"TREASONS, STRATAGEMS, AND SPOILS" 

BUT as Masters walked homeward his ir- 
resolution disappeared. He saw that his 
love for Neaera and his amour propre had 
blinded him to the real significance of the testi- 
mony elicited by the investigating committee. 
Taking together the unanimity of this testimony, 
the breaking down of Chairo's carriage, the ten- 
dresse that Neaera had certainly once entertained 
for Chairo, the duplicity with which he had over 
and over again heard Neaera charged, certain 
ambiguities in some of her own statements, and 
this last barefaced appeal to me, there could be 
no more doubt. He rehearsed the interview at 
which he had asked her to marry him; he had 
been trapped by a show of indignation and a tear- 
ful eye. 

By the time he reached his rooms his mind was 
made up. He sat down and wrote the following 
letter: 

238 



"Treasons, Stratagems, and Spoils" 

"Dear Neaera: I am afraid that the facts 
which have come to my knowledge leave no doubt 
as to your being responsible for the attack on the 
House of Detention. You are charged, too, with 
having tampered with Chairo's carriage in order 
to prevent his escape with Lydia. Shall I inves- 
tigate this matter, or would it not perhaps be 
better for you to turn over the leaf and start a 
clean page somewhere else? I am prepared to do 
what is needful in order to make this easy to you, 
and send you by the messenger who hands this to 
you money for your immediate necessities. Should 
you wish your mother to accompany you, I shall 
provide for her also. Meanwhile, of course, we 
can arrange to undo the marriage that was some- 
what hastily celebrated. 

" Yours, 

" Masters." 



Neaera was not far from New York. She and 
her mother were both occupying a cottage belong- 
ing to Masters in New Jersey, behind the Pali- 
sades. Her mother was a widow and a cipher. 
She had been a helpless spectator of her daugh- 
ter's too brilliant adventures, and was accustomed 
to sudden changes. 

When Neaera received Masters's letter she 
sent word to him she would be in New York 
that night. Masters on receiving the message 
packed a small portmanteau and went to Boston, 

239 



The Demetrian 

leaving word with his aunt, who kept house for 
him, to receive Neaera should she arrive. 

Masters was unwilling to subject himself to 
a scene with Neaera. While his messenger was 
away evidence had been presented to him which 
left no doubt as to Neaera having tampered with 
Chairo's carriage; and this was more than suffi- 
cient as a last straw. He felt he had been unac- 
countably weak in his previous personal encoun- 
ters with her and that she was now counting upon 
this weakness. It is not easy for a man to turn a 
woman out of his house, nor to hand over to the 
authorities a political refugee who has entrusted 
herself to his care. To keep Neaera in his rooms 
under the circumstances would have been con- 
sistent neither with what he owed the state nor 
with what he owed himself. He trusted, there- 
fore, to Neaera's intelligence to conclude from 
his departure that his decision was irrevocable. 

Meanwhile, Lydia had left Tyringham and 
returned to New York. This had not happened 
without considerable negotiation, for it had been 
part of the understanding upon which Chairo had 
been released on parole that Lydia was to remain 
away from New York. The intention of this ar- 
rangement was to prevent Chairo from further 

240 



"Treasons, Stratagems, and Spoils" 

compromising Lydia, pending the determination 
of his case. But Lydia had been of late so much 
disturbed by Chairo's letters that she had come to 
a decision which she proceeded at once, if pos- 
sible, to carry out, and as a first step toward doing 
so, it was indispensable that she should go to New 
York. 

She sent, therefore, to Irene the letter from 
Chairo which had particularly exercised her and 
asked Irene whether, under the circumstances, she 
could not once more be received at the cloister, 
no longer as a Demetrian but as one in retreat, 
in order that she might concert with Irene and 
other members of the council as to the course she 
proposed to pursue. 

The letter from Chairo — or rather the extract 
from it — which she sent to Irene ran as follows: 

" I could ask no one but you to believe how 
differently my own acts appear to me when I 
looked back upon them some weeks ago with the 
glamour that self-deception threw around them 
and when I hear them to-day coldly recited in the 
witness box. During the examination I have 
asked myself whether the witnesses I have heard 
testifying before the investigating committee were 
really telling about me, or were not rather telling 
of events which have happened only in a night- 
mare. And when I push my self-examination fur- 
ther, I see that the difference lies in this: At the 

241 



The Demetrian 

time I prepared our forces for violence I was 
thinking of myself; now, I am thinking of you. 

" I do not disguise from myself that the story 
narrated by more than a dozen witnesses regard- 
ing my actions prior to your acceptance of the 
mission, condemns me to an extent that makes the 
passage of an amnesty bill — so far as I am con- 
cerned — difficult if not impossible. The question, 
therefore, arises, What am I to do? I am per- 
fectly prepared to take my punishment myself, 
but it almost makes me die to think that I am 
dragging you with me into disgrace. I have 
thought that probably I am at this moment the 
chief difficulty in the way of a conclusion of this 
business; that if I were not fighting for my own 
release, the others would be pardoned easily 
enough. I would willingly bear the brunt of it 
all were it not for you. My perplexity is, that in 
fighting for you I am fighting also for myself." 

Irene discussed the possibility of Lydia's re- 
turn to the cloister with her colleagues, and the 
extract from Chairo's letter was read to them. 
Masters, also, was consulted; for his efifort to de- 
fend Neaera's reputation had enlisted him against 
Chairo on the side of the cult, and he had, there- 
fore, been occasionally admitted to their counsels. 
It was finally decided that in view of Chairo's 
present attitude — the sincerity of which very few 
were disposed to doubt — and in view of the course 
Lydia proposed to adopt, she should be readmitted 

242 



"Treasons, Stratagems, and Spoils" 

to retreat in the cloister, though it was deemed 
wise to give as little publicity to this return as 
possible. 

Masters, however, had told Neaera of it, and 
when Neaera arrived at Masters's rooms to find 
that he had left New York, her agile and vindic- 
tive mind immediately set itself to a combination 
of " treasons, stratagems, and spoils," in which 
somehow or another she wanted Lydia and Chairo 
to play a part — a part that would give some satis- 
faction to her spite. Then, too, there was some- 
where in her mind the possibility that if, as she 
understood, Chairo was hard pressed, and if, as 
she hoped, Lydia was to any degree alienated 
from him through the influence of the cloister, 
Chairo might be induced to share her evils with 
her. There were chapters in their past that he 
might not find it distasteful to rehearse. 

Neaera on arriving in New York found Mas- 
ters's aunt fussily desirous to be useful to her, and 
yet very anxious at the thought that she was har- 
boring a political runaway. Neaera had arrived 
after dark, so veiled as to escape recognition. She 
was nerved for an encounter with Masters, in 
which she was by feminine dexterity to dissipate 
the suspicions to which he had fallen too easy a 
prey, and the news that he was gone had for first 

243 



The Demetrian 

effect to make her restlessly anxious to do some- 
thing. She therefore asked whether two notes 
could be delivered by private messenger that night, 
one to Lydia and one to Chairo. After inquiry, 
arrangements were made to do this, and Neaera 
sat down to contrive her little plot. The first 
part of it was simple enough. She wrote to Lydia 
that she had come to New York at great personal 
risk expressly to see her on a matter of vital im- 
portance, and asked her to come the next morning 
punctually at ten. To Chairo she showed less 
solicitude: she confined herself to the bare state- 
ment of her whereabouts, and that she would be 
alone next morning at a quarter past ten till half 
past. The messenger was directed not to wait for 
an answer to either note. 

The next morning, punctually at ten, Lydia, 
to Neaera's delight, was shown into Masters's 
study. 

" I had to see you," said Neaera, kissing her. 
She dismissed the aunt, begging her not to admit 
any other persons without announcing them, and 
put Lydia down on a sofa. She sat next to Lydia 
and took her hand. 

«" I am afraid you don't like me," she said. 

" On the contrary," answered Lydia, " I like 
you, but I differ from you." 

244 



"Treasons, Stratagems, and Spoils" 

" Yes, I know; we differ on almost everything; 
on the cult, on state employment, on personal lib- 
erty, etc., etc., but then, we have one thing in com- 
mon, we are both women." 

Lydia looked a little puzzled. This abstract 
conversation was not what she had been prepared 
by Neaera's note to expect. 

" I am not at all sure," she said, " that it is not 
just about womanhood that we differ most." 

"Lydia!" answered Neaera reproachfully. 

" I did not mean to wound you," said Lydia 
quickly. " There is so much room for honest dif- 
ference of opinion that I do not undertake to set 
my opinion against yours, or indeed anyone's. 
But is it not dangerous for you to be here? " 

Neaera smiled consciously, and said: 

'' I am not thinking of that. I came to see you 
because I felt you ought to be put right, and I 
want to do right; in the first place, you will be 
misled if you believe the wicked falsehoods that 
are being circulated in order to put the whole 
blame for what has occurred upon me. I should 
never have left New York of my own will. Mas- 
ters forced me to go, and I am occupying his 
cottage at Englewood. I am prepared at any time 
to return to New York and set things right, and 
I can ; I can testify to the message sent by Chairo, 

245 



The Demetrian 

to my efforts to induce Balbus to give up the 
attempt at rescue, to Balbus's refusal to listen to 
me, to his having arrested Xenos and bound him, 
to my having released Xenos — and Xenos will, I 
am sure, if I ask him, confirm my testimony. 
This will set Chairo right before the committee; 
only I don't want to see Chairo. He has been im- 
ploring me for an interview. I don't want to com- 
plicate things; you have suffered enough, you 
shall not suffer any more through me " 

Lydia was about to rise and leave the room; 
she would not by word or gesture admit the in- 
ference to be drawn from Neaera's words — ad- 
mit the possibility of inconstancy on the part of 
Chairo; but at the moment she was about to rise 
a ring was heard at the door, and presently the 
aunt appeared excitedly, and announced that 
Chairo was there. Neaera jumped up and shut 
the door. 

" You must not see him here," she said to 
Lydia. " Come into this room," and she beckoned 
her into an adjoining parlor, separated from the 
study only by a curtain. Lydia, who was under a 
promise not to meet Chairo, had no option but to 
follow Neaera, but she followed with a cheek 
flushed with indignation. She sat stiffly in a chair 
while Neaera left her to receive Chairo. She 

246 



"Treasons, Stratagems, and Spoils" 

heard the door of the study open and Neaera's 
voice in the adjoining room say: 

*' Chairo, my poor Chairo! " 

Then she buried her face in her hands and her 
fingers in her ears so that she should not be an 
unwilling listener. She would be staunch to her 
faith in Chairo, for this was the one rock under 
the shelter of which in the shifting and stormy 
skies she felt there was any longer any safety for 
her. 

Lydia heard in spite of herself Neaera's coo- 
ing treble and the rich vibrating notes of Chairo's 
voice; she heard them laugh once, and then there 
came what seemed to be a silence that was terrible 
to her. Later, the voices resumed again. She 
passed a half hour of anguish, striving to listen 
and striving not to hear, and during that half 
hour she thought she heard the voices in the ad- 
joining room pass through every gamut of emo- 
tion; they were sometimes raised as though each 
was striving to outdo the other, then they would 
sink into silence again. Would it never come to 
an end — this interview between the man she loved 
and a woman she despised? At last she heard a 
door close; she removed her hands from her head 
and tried to look composed. 

Neaera came to her with her cheeks flushed. 
247 



The Demetrian 

" Did you hear anything? " asked she. 

Lydia arose. 

" I have been here too long," said Lydia. 
" You have nothing else to say, I think," and she 
moved out of the parlor into the study and was 
moving out of the study into the hall when Neaera 
stopped her, and said: 

" You are not mistaking Chairo's visit, are 
you?" There was the prettiest little dimple in 
Neaera's cheek as she said this. " Nothing but 
politics," she added, and the dimple deepened. 

" Good-by," said Lydia, without holding out 
her hand. 

Neaera burst out now into a little laugh, for 
Lydia had passed her and was at the door. 

" Nothing but politics," laughed Neaera, as 
Lydia shut the door behind her. 



248 



CHAPTER XXIII 

A LIBEL 

AS Lydia hurried back to the cloister she 
had a humiliated sense of having been in 
contact with something foul. Indignant 
at the trap which had been laid for her, sore at the 
struggle neither to listen nor to doubt, one thought 
only occupied her: to get back to the cloister and 
wash her mind and body clean of the whole con- 
cern. 

She had not been allowed to respond to 
Neaera's invitation without a long discussion with 
Irene and the Mother Superior. The compact 
upon which she had come to New York was that 
she was not to meet Chairo there; to insure this, 
it had been the unexpressed understanding that 
she would not leave the cloister until Chairo's 
case was judged — or at least not leave it without 
the permission of the Demetrian authorities. So 
when Neaera's message was received, Lydia at 
once showed it to Irene. 

249 



The Demetrian 

Neaera's role in the whole matter was such 
an important one, and so much depended on what 
it could be proved to have been, that the Mother 
Superior judged it worth the risk to allow Lydia 
to visit Neaera. When, therefore, Lydia returned 
to the cloister, Irene at once questioned her as to 
the result of the interview. 

But Lydia was not prepared to lay bare even 
to Irene all she had suffered at Masters's rooms. 
It was already pitiful enough that her love for 
Chairo had become a subject for public discus- 
sion, and, indeed, a matter of political concern. 
This last agony she would keep to herself; she 
felt unable to talk about it to others, so she an- 
swered Irene imploringly: 

" Do not ask me. Nothing has come of it 
which can be of the slightest importance to the 
cult or to any one. Neaera is a worse woman than 
I thought." 

Irene hesitated. She did not wish to intrude 
on Lydia, and yet she knew the Mother Superior 
would not be satisfied with this answer. But 
there was no reason for forcing an answer from 
Lydia at once, so she accompanied her to her 
room. 

" I want a bath," said Lydia. " I feel con- 
taminated." 

250 



A Libel 

"Physically contaminated?" asked Irene, 
smiling. 

" The mere presence of that woman is a phys- 
ical contamination," answered Lydia. 

" Well, let us go down and take a plunge to- 
gether," answered Irene, laughing. 

"Will you?" asked Lydia. "And then we 
can go to the temple afterwards. That will be the 
best of all." 

The two women stepped down to the swim- 
ming bath and donned their swimming dress. 

Lydia stood on the plunging board, and as she 
raised her beautiful arms above her head and 
straightened herself for the plunge, she said: 

"Ah! Irene, if life were all as simple and as 
wholesome and as delightful as this!" 

Reinvigorated by the fresh salt plunge, they 
resumed their draperies and walked slowly to the 
temple. The service was coming to an end and 
they knelt to hear the closing chorus of the Choe- 
phoroi. The words came with refreshing dis- 
tinctness to Lydia, and the hopefulness of them 
filled her heart with strength. They told of the 
beauty of women, of their devotion. Beauty was 
a snare, but it was also a sanctuary. For the god- 
dess gave beauty to the good and to the evil alike 
— so had the Fates decreed. And the evil would 

251 



The Demetrian 

use it to the undoing of man, but the good to the 
building of him up. And the goddess loved good 
and hated evil. 

Then came the prayer of the women; they 
prayed to Demeter to give them charm to delight 
and courage to renounce, that love and modera- 
tion bring in the end happiness and peace. 

And the priest lifted his hand in benediction: 

" Go forth, for the goddess hath blessed you, 
and hath bidden you take heed that, pitiless though 
be Anagke, even her empire may at last be broken 
by the fruit of your womb." 

The congregation knelt at these words and re- 
mained kneeling while the choir marched out 
singing a recessional, solemn and strong. Then 
came the novices, the Demetrians, and, last of all, 
the high priest bearing the sacred emblem. 

When Lydia and Irene left the temple and 
followed the arcade to the cloister, all doubts and 
fears seemed to have fallen from Lydia, as scales 
from eyes blinded by cataract. 

*' How beautiful the cult of Demeter is! " ex- 
claimed Lydia, '' and how strengthening." 

Irene passed her arm round Lydia's waist. 
" You know now," she said, " how easy my sacri- 
fice has become! Oh, we have to pass through the 
fire, but once the ordeal is over, happiness comes 

252 



A Libel 

unbidden and unexpected. Come to my boy — my 
boys, I should say. I left them at work and I 
shall probably find them at play; but they are 
truthful and innocent. Their innocence is a daily 
delight to me." 

And the two women returned to their duties. 
Lydia forgot that she had heard Neaera whis- 
pering to Chairo. She had taken in a draught of 
strength, and she needed it, for another trial was 
at hand. 

Lydia was allowed to sleep that night the sleep 
of the innocent, but the next morning while she 
was engaged in the hospital ward, Irene came to 
her with an expression of agitation on her face 
that was unusual. She carried in her hand a 
newspaper, which Lydia was not slow in recog- 
nizing, and asked Lydia when she v/ould be 
through her work, as she had an important word 
to say to her. 

Lydia promised to hurry and be back in her 
room within ten minutes. Irene said she would 
go at once to her room and wait there. The mo- 
ment Irene left the room the probable contents of 
the newspaper flashed upon her, and she saw the 
folly of her reticence. She was putting the last 
bandage about the leg of a child when suddenly, 

253 



The Demetrian 

at the thought of the false construction that might 
be placed upon her silence, a weakness came over 
her that made it almost impossible for her to finish 
her task. 

" What is the matter, Aunt Lydia? " asked the 
child; ''you look pale." 

Lydia collected herself. " Nothing," she said, 
'' I shall be all right presently." She passed her 
unoccupied hand over her eyes and was able to 
resume and complete her work. 

When she had sewn up the bandage she put 
back the small wounded limb into the bed, tucked 
in the sheets, and, preoccupied as she was with her 
new concern, was moving away without giving 
the child the customary kiss. 

"Aunt Lydia!" cried out the child, holding 
out its little hands. 

'' Darling," answered Lydia, and as the soft 
arms closed around her neck and she felt innocent 
lips upon her cheek, tears gushed from her eyes, 
of which — relief though they gave her — she was 
nevertheless ashamed. 

The child looked wonderingly at her, and she 
said: 

" It is nothing at all, and Aunt Lydia is very 
grateful for a sweet little kiss." 

The child patted her cheek with a dimpled 
254 



A Libel 

hand as she bent over him, and Lydia left, won- 
dering how often she would have to be reminded 
that happiness did not depend only upon the sat- 
isfaction of our own desires. She had left the 
temple full of this thought, and yet a suspected 
attack, directed by a newspaper against her own 
particular designs, had in a moment blackened 
her entire horizon. When she reached her room 
and found Irene there she was once more calm 
and strong. 

She found Irene sitting down, with the news- 
paper open on her knees. It was published by 
a few devotees in vindication of the cult, although 
lacking its support. The cult had, indeed, often 
tried to suppress its publication but had not suc- 
ceeded. It had been able only to compel the pub- 
lishers to change its name, for it had been pub- 
lished at first under the title " The Demetrian." 
The cult had pointed out that this title gave the 
impression that it was an authorized organ, 
whereas it was not only unauthorized but pub- 
lished in a spirit opposite to that taught by the 
cult. So the name had been changed to '' Sacri- 
fice," this word having been selected in opposition 
to the word " Liberty " — the title of its rival. 

In the issue of that morning was the following 
paragraph: 

255 



The Demetrian 

" We are incensed to learn that although 
Chairo was given his liberty on the express un- 
derstanding that he was not to use it in order to 
consummate his outrage on Lydia, and although 
Lydia was allowed to come to New York only on 
the condition that she was to remain confined to 
the cloister and not to see Chairo, these two, who 
have already scandalized the cult and the whole 
community beyond endurance, managed yesterday 
to meet clandestinely at the rooms of Masters, 
between ten and eleven in the morning. Masters 
is not in New York, so he cannot be held respon- 
sible for this assignation; and Masters being out 
of town it is hardly necessary to point out that on 
this occasion the guilty couple were quite alone." 

Lydia thought when she entered her room that 
she was braced to endure anything, but when she 
came to the closing words of the paragraph the 
blood rushed to her face. She managed, however, 
to avoid further expression of her indignation. 

" It is false, of course?" said Irene. 

" No," answered Lydia, and with burning 
cheeks she turned her tired eyes on Irene. " It is 
not false — and it is not true." 

" What do you mean? " asked Irene anxiously. 

*' Chairo was there." 

" And you saw him? " 

Irene was bending over her breathlessly. 

A fearful agitation tormented Lydia. Must 
256 



A Libel 

she indeed renew the anguish of that hour — nay, 
treble it, by laying it bare to all the world? She 
could have told it to Irene, but to tell it to her as 
a vindication of herself would involve the telling 
of it to the Mother Superior and to the rest. And 
who would believe that she had not seen or spoken 
to Chairo, that far from seeing him, she had 
crouched in an adjoining room with her fingers 
at her ears in agony lest she should hear and lest 
she should not hear? 

She remained silent, with her head bowed over 
the oflfending sheet. 

"You must tell me," Irene pleaded; " I need 
not tell it to any one — at least I think I need not," 
added she, hesitating, " but I know you have done 
no wrong; you must clear yourself, Lydia; for the 
love of the goddess, tell me." 

" For the love of the goddess," repeated Lydia 
slowly; she paused a moment, and then, mistress 
of herself again, she said: 

" I neither saw Chairo nor spoke to him. You 
will believe this, but who else will?" 

" Your word is enough for me," answered 
Irene, " and I shall make it enough for them all." 

The women arose and embraced each other, 
then Lydia said : 

" Too much has been already said about the 
257. 



The Demetrian 

most secret as well as the most sacred matters of 
a woman's life. It belongs to us women to pre- 
serve the dignity that we derive from Demeter, 
and that we owe her. I shall say no more on this 
matter. Am I not right? " 



258 



CHAPTER XXIV 

NEAERA AGAIN 

NEAERA'S attempt on Chairo had proved 
a humiliating failure, and when she con- 
fronted Lydia her cheeks were flushed, 
not with success as might have been imagined, but 
with the effort to escape without disgrace from a 
situation for which she had no one to thank or 
blame but herself. Chairo had certainly at one 
time been attracted by Neaera beyond the limits 
of mere companionship, but he had not taken long 
to discover that the glances that tended to bewitch 
him were no less bewitchingly turned on others, 
and he soon put Neaera where she deserved in his 
acquaintance. 

She was extremely useful to him in his polit- 
ical plans and on the staff of " Liberty"; and al- 
though he was dimly conscious that Neaera would 
to the end — at every moment that the strain of the 
actual work was relieved — endeavor to bring into 
their intimacy the element of coquetry of which 
she was a past master, Chairo treated this dis- 

259 



The Demetrian 

position with something of the amused sense of 
her charm that would be elicited by a pet animal. 
And this willingness to be amused by her Neaera 
understood to mean a tribute to her attractiveness 
that might on a suitable occasion lead to an ex- 
change of vows at the altar of matrimony. 

But she little understood Chairo when she 
attempted to force the occasion of their meeting 
at Masters's into a channel so opposite to his pres- 
ent disposition. When he entered the room where 
Neaera awaited him the lines in his face and the 
fatigue in his eye elicited from Neaera an ejacula- 
tion in which, strange to say, there was some real 
sincerity. She was truly sorry for him, and she 
was woman enough to guess that the weary face 
before her was due to no mere political reverses, 
for the face was not only that of a tired man, it 
was also that of a man who had been chastened. 
She was restive under the thought that the chast- 
ening influence could be his love for Lydia, and 
the problem before her grew complicated when 
she guessed how difficult it would be for her to 
elicit from Chairo any word that could sting the 
woman whom to that particular end she had 
secreted in the adjoining room. Then, too, al- 
though she was mistress of her own voice, she was 
not mistress of Chairo's, and the possibility that 

260 



Neaera Again 

Lydia might close her ears was one that did not 
enter within the scope of Neaera's imagination. 

After having expressed her sympathy for 
Chairo and found that it elicited little or no re- 
sponse from him, but, on the contrary, that he was 
eager to know the reason of her presence in New 
York and of her message to him, she launched 
upon a highly imaginative account of her rela- 
tions to Masters, and with her command of humor 
very soon got Chairo laughing over the success 
with which, according to her story, she had pulled 
the wool over Masters's e3^es. Chairo had no 
reason to love Masters, and he had long ceased to 
regard Neaera as a responsible person; the im- 
morality of her proceeding affected him, there- 
fore, no more than if he had observed it in a 
monkey or a cat. 

Neaera told her story in words so rapid and a 
voice so low that Lydia could hardly have under- 
stood it had she tried, and Neaera felt that she had 
scored a point when she had made Chairo laugh. 
Then, anticipating the effect of silence on Lydia, 
she had handed Chairo some selected passages 
from Masters's letters to read, and as Chairo 
burst again into laughter over certain passages in 
them, Neaera began to feel she might venture 
farther. Laughter, especially over an unrighteous 

261 



The Demetrian 

matter, tends to make all righteousness seem super- 
fluous, but when Neaera got near Chairo, in a 
pretense of reading over his shoulder, a very slight 
and almost unconscious movement of Chairo away 
from her made her understand that any further 
effort in this direction would be a mistake. 

So Neaera set herself to discussing very seri- 
ously the situation with Chairo, assured him that 
she was prepared to sacrifice herself, and with a 
tear in her eye admitted to him, almost in a whis- 
per, that she had tampered with his carriage. 

" I knew it," said Chairo. 

" But did you guess why? " asked Neaera, very 
low. 

Chairo did not answer, but looked inquiry. 

" Then you shall never know," continued 
Neaera. 

This was the psychological moment of the in- 
terview. She had intended, had Chairo given her 
the least encouragement, to throw herself into his 
arms and confess to him that she had never loved 
any man but him, that so great was her love for 
him that she was prepared now to face the inves- 
tigating committee, tell the whole story, and tell- 
ing the story by so much exonerate him. She had 
expected that if there was a spark of affection in 
Chairo's heart for her, his chivalrousness would 

262 



Neaera Again 

be roused by this ofifer, and he would share her 
fortunes rather than permit her sacrifice to assure 
his. 

But the possibility of this imagined scene had 
been dissipated by that little unconscious move- 
ment of Chairo's away from her. Then, too, she 
knew that Lydia was in the next room, and she 
almost regretted now that she was there, for if 
Lydia had not been there she might have risked 
the venture. But that Lydia should witness a 
humiliating rejection was a risk she could not 
take. So she had spoken very low and rapidly in 
the hope that although Lydia might not hear any 
specific word that would hurt, she might gather 
a general impression that would sufficiently tor- 
ment her. She little knew how completely she 
was, to this extent at any rate, succeeding. 

*' My dear Neaera," answered Chairo, " you 
are a very charming and complicated person and 
I do not pretend to guess why you chose to thwart 
my plans. But you have done me a great wrong 
in many ways. Should you decide now to repair 
them — in so far as this is possible — you will be 
behaving in a manner which, though proper, 
would hardly be consistent." He smiled a little 
as he said this; Neaera wished he would not speak 
so loud, and was even betrayed into a gesture 

263 



The Demetrian 

which he interpreted as a gesture of protest, but 
was really an instinctive effort to induce him to 
lower his voice. 

" You are very cruel to me," said Neaera, and 
she lowered her eyelids so that her long, black 
lashes swept her cheek. 

" And you are a charming little comedienne,''^ 
laughed Chairo, " and you ought to have devoted 
yourself to the stage." 

" The world's my stage," she said, raising her 
eyes with a flash of indignation. *' And there is 
upon it every kind of character. But while I have 
made a fool of many I have always respected you, 
and this is how you pay me for it! " 

Chairo was not deceived by her pretty little 
air of indignation, but he said to himself that 
though it was a part she was playing, she played 
it well; so he arose, and, taking her hand, said: 

" I do not mean to be unkind, Neaera, and for 
anything you do to help me I shall be profoundly 
grateful." 

"What shall I do, Chairo?" she asked, look- 
ing up appealingly to him. 

" Ah! that is in your hands," he answered. 

" You can count upon me," she said, holding 
his hand in both of hers. 

Chairo did not wish to prolong the interview, 
264 



Neaera Again 

so by way of farewell he lifted her hands to his 
lips. Then she fell upon her knees, kissed his 
hands not once but many times, and bathed them 
in her tears. He lifted her gently and put her in 
her chair. 

" Good-bye, little woman," he said gently, 
" and be sure that whatever you may do, I shall 
feel kindly toward you," and disengaging himself 
from her, he left the room. 

Neaera saw him leave with something like 
real affection in her heart. " He is the best of 
them all," she said, " and I might have loved him 
really." And whether it was that there was in 
her something that might have responded to him 
had he love to give her or whether it was mere 
reaction from her own trumped-up distress, there 
was a moment as Neaera sat there when the little 
woman did sincerely think herself in love. 

But the recollection that Lydia was in the 
next room came to her, and she wondered how 
much Lydia had heard. She looked in the mirror 
and saw there the reflection of the very agitation 
she wished Lydia to suspect, and so before the 
trace of it could disappear, she hurried to her 
victim. Perhaps, thought she, Lydia had heard 
something without hearing too much. 



265 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE LIBEL INVESTIGATED 

CHAIRO was sitting at the head of one of 
the tables in the hall of our building, and 
Ariston and I were on either side of him, 
when the morning papers were brought in. Since 
the disappearance of " Liberty," only two morning 
papers were daily published in New York: the 
state paper, entitled " The New York News," and 
" Sacrifice." Chairo rapidly perused " The 
News " and handed it to me. I was absorbed 
half in consuming the oatmeal, with which our 
breakfast usually closed, and half in reading 
" The News," when I was suddenly aware of an 
agitation in my neighbor which caused me to look 
up at him. 

I was surprised at the shape this agitation 
took; Chairo was a choleric man; as I first re- 
member him, very slight causes of annoyance sent 
the blood to his face and found expression at once 
in a few violent sentences. This morning, the first 

266 



The Libel Investigated 

impatient gesture over, he sat very still, pale, and 
with beads of cold perspiration on his forehead. 

" What is it? " asked Ariston. 

Chairo pushed the paper to him. 

Ariston, after reading the passage indicated, 
said: 

" Of course I understand that publicity of any 
kind on such a subject must be odious to you ; but 
after all, it is a lie, and can be easily proved to be 
such." 

" It is not altogether a lie," answered Chairo, 
" I was at Masters's rooms at the hour indicated, 
but Lydia was not there— at least," he added, cor- 
recting himself, '' I did not see her there." For 
already he began to suspect that Neaera had been 
at her tricks again. 

" I shall go to the editor at once," continued 
Chairo, " and insist on the publication of an 
apology." 

The paper had by this time been handed to 
me and I had read the libel. 

" Don't go to the editor now," urged Ariston. 
" You are justly indignant, and you have a man 
to deal with, in the editor, who will only add to 
your exasperation. Write a simple denial of the 
fact that you have seen or spoken to Lydia at any 
time or place since your arrest." 

267 



The Demetrian 

^' I won't drag her name into the paper again," 
exclaimed Chairo. " If I write anything it must 
be so contrived as not to introduce her name. I 
have a right to insist that my private affairs be no 
more discussed in the paper." 

'' You have the undoubted right under our 
law to demand this, but don't be impatient if I 
answer you that this matter is not a purely private 
one; it is a matter of grave public interest." 

Chairo flashed a look at Ariston that we both 
understood; it meant a sudden revival of his aver- 
sion for the cult, which made of this private mat- 
ter one with which the public had a right to 
meddle; but the look died away, and Chairo's 
face resumed the settled expression of discourage- 
ment which had marked it since the sessions of the 
investigating committee began. 

" Let me see," said Ariston, " if I cannot draw 
up a letter which the paper will have to publish," 
and he scribbled on the newspaper band that 
Chairo had torn off and thrown aside. Very soon 
he produced the following: 

The Editor of " Sacrifice." 

"Sir: I avail myself of my right under the 
law to insist on your publishing this letter in the 
same place and in the same type as the paragraph 
to which it refers. 

268 



The Libel Investigated 

"The statement that I have in spirit or in 
letter violated the compact under which I was 
released is not true. I was at Masters's rooms at 
the hour indicated, but I met no one there. 

" Should you add anything to the libel already 
published, by way of comment, head line, or 
otherwise of a nature to cast a doubt upon the 
contradiction herein contained, I shall at once. 
have you prosecuted with the utmost rigor of the 
law. 

" I beg also to inform you that I shall regard 
any further reference to this incident as an im- 
proper meddling with my private affairs, and 
shall proceed accordingly." 



Chairo glanced at the proposed letter, and 
said: 

" It is quite satisfactory except as to one state- 
ment in it. I did not meet Lydia at Masters', but 
I did meet another woman there." 

Ariston and I looked at one another in sur- 
prise. 

" An indiscretion? " asked Ariston. 

" Not at all," said Chairo, " but a secret." 

This was very awkward. 

" I need not hesitate to tell you as my counsel, 
in confidence," continued Chairo. " But I think 
it must go no further." 

We looked our inquiry. 
269 



The Demetrian 

*^ It was Neaera," said Chairo very low. 

Ariston and I opened our eyes. 

"That woman again!" exclaimed Ariston. 

But Chairo rose, suggesting that it would be 
more prudent to discuss the matter in our rooms, 
and we followed him there. 

Chairo then told us of his interview with 
Neaera, leaving out of it all that might have ex- 
plained or reflected on her motives. Both Ariston 
and I felt certain he was leaving out something. 

*' Well, we must modify our letter," said Aris- 
ton, and after some discussion it was decided to 
leave out the statement that Chairo had been at 
Masters's rooms altogether, and to confine the 
letter therefore to a bare denial. 

Ariston advised Chairo to go at once to Arkles 
and explain the facts, so as to put the cult in a 
position to write a similar denial. Ariston and I 
proceeded to the office of " Sacrifice." 

On our way there we discussed Chairo's inter- 
view with Neaera. 

" You may depend upon it," said Ariston, '' she 
has lost Masters, and is making a desperate effort 
to get back Chairo." 

" And she had Lydia secreted in an adjoining 
room," guessed I. 

" That's it," said Ariston; " she is a devil! " 
270 



The Libel Investigated 

" But can Chairo insist on the publication of 
his letter? " asked I. 

^' Certainly," said Ariston. " In this we have 
but copied an admirable provision of the French 
law in your time. We have added to it a right 
for every man to prohibit any paper from pub- 
lishing any matter regarding his private move- 
ments or his private afifairs. The effect of this rule 
is that as every paper wants to be free to publish 
what is known as society news, and it can only do 
so with the tacit consent of those who make up 
society, it has to take care to publish nothing that 
even borders on libel. Libel and slander, I think 
I have told you, we regard as one of the greatest 
of social crimes." 

We found the editor of " Sacrifice " in a con- 
dition of sanctimonious self-satisfaction. His ar- 
ticle had produced a sensation, and he was tri- 
umphant in the thought that he was accomplishing 
for the cult what the cult itself was too feeble to 
accomplish for itself. He assumed an air of por- 
tentous gravity when he learned the object of our 
visit. 

'^ I hold Chairo in the hollow of my hand," 
said he, " and I do not mean to let him off." 

" You will have to publish his letter," insisted 
Ariston. 

271 



The Demetrian 

'' I shall publish his letter and I shall brand it 
as a lie," retorted the editor. 

" You will do so at your peril," answered 
Ariston. 

" I fear no consequences," said the little man, 
straightening himself in his editorial chair. 
" When Chairo denies that he was at Masters's 
rooms between ten and eleven yesterday morning, 
and Lydia denies that she was there at the same 
hour, it will be time to resume investigation. So 
bare a denial as this " — and he threw Chairo's 
letter contemptuously down on his desk — " is not 
worth the paper it is written on." 

" What is your proof of the correctness of your 
statement? " asked Ariston. 

" I need not produce it," said the editor pom- 
pously, " but I have nothing to conceal," and after 
looking among the papers on his desk, he found 
and handed us a typewritten statement of the fact 
constituting the alleged libel. I was pretty sure 
that I detected here the hand of Neaera. 

" Before publishing this anonymous state- 
ment," continued the editor, " I was careful to 
confirm it. The janitor of the building, upon be- 
ing questioned by me in person as to who had 
passed his lodge during the hour in question, men- 
tioned, of his own accord, both Chairo and Lydia. 

272 



The Libel Investigated 

They arrived each alone and at an interval of a 
few minutes. It was an assignation. There is no 
doubt of it." 

" You had best not tell Chairo so," said Aris- 
ton. 

" Don't threaten me, sir," exclaimed the editor. 
" Your own role in this matter will not bear inves- 
tigation." 

Ariston rose suddenly and advanced on the 
editor, but I interfered. 

" You have come here," said I, " on an errand 
as counsel for Chairo, because you feared he 
would not control his temper. Are you going to 
lose yours? " 

I had. clutched Ariston by the arm, and at first 
he tried to extricate himself from me, but he saw 
the force of my argument, and, looking a little 
mortified, he said: 

" Xenos is right. I have no right to prejudice 
Chairo's case by taking up a quarrel of my own. 
Xenos, however, is a witness to the words you have 
used and the animus you have shown. Now pub- 
lish a word of comment if you dare! " 

Then, turning abruptly to the door, we both 
left the room. 

As soon as we were out of the building Ariston, 
who was trembling with suppressed passion, said: 

273 



The Demetrian 

"This man has to be scotched! He means 
mischief and is in a position to do mischief 
unless we can make Chairo's innocence in this 
matter clear as day. Let us summon the janitor 
at once before an examining magistrate and get 
all the facts from him. You understand me — 
allV 

I understood him, and appreciated the value 
of a procedure that enabled any citizen to demand 
at any time the examination of any other citizen 
before a magistrate — subject, of course, to a heavy 
penalty in case the proceeding turned out to be 
unreasonable and vexatious. Had either of us 
gone to the janitor ourselves we would have been 
accused of having influenced him, so we addressed 
ourselves directly to a magistrate who sent a mes- 
senger for the janitor and secured his attendance 
within half an hour. 

The janitor answered rapidly under interroga- 
tion as to the attendance of both Chairo and Lydia 
at the hour named. 

*' Now tell us," asked Ariston, " who was in 
Masters's apartment at the time." 

" Masters's aunt." 

" Was no one else there? " 

" Yes, a messenger of Masters went backward 
and forward several times." 

274 



The Libel Investigated 

Ariston demanded the name of the messenger, 
and the magistrate at once sent for him. 

Ariston continued the examination. 

" Was no one else in Masters's apartment be- 
sides his aunt? " 

" I do not know of any one else being there." 

He emphasized the word " know." 

" When did Masters leave? " 

*' About two in the afternoon." 

" Did no one else go to his rooms from two in 
the afternoon to the arrival of Lydia next morn- 

ing? " 

" Not to my knowledge." 

Again he emphasized the word " knowledge." 

" You do not know of your knowledge just 
where every one who passes your lodge goes? " 

" No." 

" Who passed your lodge and went to Masters's 
staircase on the day before Chairo and Lydia went 
there?" 

The janitor mentioned here a large number of 
persons, and then added : 

*' There may have been others ; I don't see 
every one who passes the lodge." 

" Did any one that night gain admission after 
dark?" 

" A great many." 

275 



The Demetrian 

" Did you get the names of all? " 

" Yes — of all — at least, there was one I did not 
get." 

At last the janitor hesitated, and it seemed clear 
that Ariston was on the right scent. 

" Who was it? " 

" I don't know. I was sleepy, I did not insist." 

" Did no one pass out next day whom you had 
not admitted on the previous night? " 

" I did not notice any one particularly; I 
could not distinguish; so many come and go." 

The janitor seemed to think a little and hesi- 
tate. 

*' Go on," said Ariston. " Of whom are you 
thinking? " 

^' A veiled woman passed out that day and put 
a piece of money in my hand." 

*' Over-astute Neaera!" thought I. 

''Did you not recognize the woman?" asked 
Ariston. 

" No, she was veiled." 

'' Would you be surprised if I could guess at 
what hour she passed out? " 

The janitor looked at Ariston stupidly. 

" She passed out within an hour after Lydia." 

'' Yes," nodded the janitor, " just about 
that." 

276 



The Libel Investigated 

" Have you seen or talked with Masters's aunt 
since that day? " 

" No." 

Ariston then asked the magistrate to send for 
the messenger and Masters's aunt. 

The janitor wa§ asked to wait in case he should 
be needed, and we adjourned for lunch. While 
lunching Ariston and I agreed that we were going 
to get at the facts, and that it would be better not 
to let the editor know them till after to-morrow 
morning. " I mean to give him rope," said Aris- 
ton. " He'll hang himself, I think." 

The messenger arrived shortly, and from him 
the identity of the veiled lady was very soon 
elicited. He had evidently received his piece of 
money also, and endeavored to avoid a direct ad- 
mission, but Ariston got the fact out of him with 
but little difficulty, and his hesitation to admit it 
only brought out the more clearly the means 
Neaera had adopted to cover her tracks. 

Masters's aunt arrived a little later in a state 
of utmost trepidation. She came up to Ariston at 
once and implored him to tell her what the matter 
was; had she done anything wrong; she would tell 
anything that was wanted, but there were some 
things she could not tell; really, was Ariston going 
to ask her to tell things she really could not tell? 

277 



The Demetrian 

But Ariston calmed her, and told her the 
magistrate was there to protect her. 

She bustled up to the magistrate, who stopped 
her by handing her the Bible, upon which she was 
told to take her oath. 

The judicial severity of the magistrate sub- 
dued her at once; she took the oath and sat down. 
Ariston whispered to the magistrate, begging him 
to conduct the examination, and pointing out that 
the object of it was to elicit what occurred at 
Masters's rooms and whether or not Chairo and 
Lydia had actually met there. 

The magistrate asked her a few leading ques- 
tions, and as soon as the witness had recovered 
from the subduing efifect of the magistrate's pres- 
ence the floodgates were opened, and she poured 
forth the whole story, leaving a strong presump- 
tion that Lydia had not seen Chairo, and that 
Chairo had ignored the presence of Lydia. 

It was late in the afternoon before the exami- 
nation was closed. We found Chairo resting after 
his bath. He told us that he had seen Arkles, 
shown him a copy of the letter Ariston had drawn, 
and agreed with Arkles that a similar letter be 
written by Lydia. 

Ariston told Chairo that we had not been idle, 
278 



The Libel Investigated 

but that we judged it wiser for the present not to 
disclose to him what we had done. It would be 
advantageous later to be able to say that we had 
acted upon our own responsibility. We took 
Chairo after dinner to hear some music, and tried 
to make him forget the dreadful incidents of the 
day, suspecting, as we did, that a still more bitter 
dose was awaiting him next morning. 

And the editor did not disappoint us. We 
breakfasted earlier than usual in order to receive 
the papers in our rooms. " Sacrifice " contained 
Chairo's letter just as Ariston had submitted it. 
Next came a shorter letter from Lydia to the fol- 
lowing effect: 

" Sir : It is not true that I have met Chairo since 
his release, clandestinely or otherwise, whether at 
Masters's rooms between ten and eleven day be- 
fore yesterday, or at any other time or place. 

" Lydia Second." 

But an editorial carried out the editor's threat 
of the day before. It stated that in compliance 
with the law, letters signed by Chairo and Lydia 
respectively had been that day published denying 
the truth of the charge made against them on the 
previous day, but that a sense of the duty which 
the paper owed to the public made it impossible 
to comply with Chairo's order to refrain from 

279 



The Demetrian 

further comment on the matter. It was not of a 
private nature. On the contrary, it was a matter 
of the gravest public concern. " No one," it went 
on to say, " is less interested in Chairo's private 
affairs than ourselves, and we fully appreciate the 
reasons why he should prefer that his private 
affairs be not at this moment, or any other, ex- 
posed to public scrutiny; but he is charged with 
having violated the sanctity of the cloister, with 
having outraged a Demetrian, and with having, 
in violation of his oath, sought to consummate the 
crime, the perpetration of which had been pre- 
vented by the vigilance of the Demetrian cult. Is 
this a matter of purely private concern? " 

The editorial then proceeded to explain the 
carefulness with which it had verified the truth 
of the statement published, compared the circum- 
stantial evidence produced by themselves with the 
bareness of the denial published by the parties 
incriminated, and closed with the following 
words : 

" We have always stood, and we stand to-day, 
for peace, purity, and cleanliness of life. Chairo 
stands for violence, lust, and turpitude. We shall 
not allow ourselves to be intimidated by him or 
diverted from our plain duty to brand his contra- 
diction as a lie." 

280 



The Libel Investigated 

It was a paper containing this outrageous at- 
tack on Chairo that Ariston brought into our 
room, flourishing it over his head with an air of 
triumph, and crying: 

"We have him — we have him. Good-bye/ Sac- 
rifice'"; and making a semblance of blowing it into 
the air, he handed it to Chairo, but before Chairo 
could read it he held it away from him and said: 

" This is going to exasperate you — but believe 
me it is the best thing that could happen. We 
have already secured sworn evidence taken before 
a magistrate that vindicates both you and Lydia 
— don't ask us what it is — I shall be responsible 
for all I do. The intemperance of the language 
you are going to read is going to do you more 
good than all the eloquence you can command in 
yourself or in others." 

When Chairo read the article he insisted on 
Ariston's telling him what evidence we had, and 
Ariston explained the proceedings of the previous 
day at length; he added that he knew Chairo 
would object to bring home the responsibility to 
Neaera, but that what Chairo might have reasons 
for not doing he, Ariston, had no reason for not 
doing, and that he proposed to make it clear that 
he, Ariston, was responsible for the whole pro- 



ceeding and not Chairo. 



281 



The Demetrian 

" Well," said Chairo, '' you have gone beyond 
the point where I can either stop or help you." 

" Exactly," argued Ariston, " and this is ex- 
actly where I wanted to put you. This last attack 
upon both you and Lydia — for, of course, she is 
as much included as yourself — leaves you no alter- 
native but to prosecute the editor. I propose to 
present to-day's article to the magistrate who took 
the testimony yesterday. He will grant me an 
order of arrest against the editor for libel, and 
both you and Lydia will be vindicated as you 
deserve." 

As Ariston spoke, a note was handed to me 
from Anna of Ann begging me urgently to go and 
see her that afternoon at tea time. I showed it to 
Ariston, and we wondered what new development 
things were taking that could include Anna of 
Ann. 

" Harmes! " exclaimed Ariston. 

I was puzzled. 

" What do you mean? " asked I. 

" Neaera is playing her last card." 

Then it flashed upon me. 

That afternoon I went to see Anna of Ann and 
found her in profound dejection. Ariston had 
guessed right. A few days before Harmes had re- 

282 



The Libel Investigated 

ceived a letter from Neaera and absented himself 
the whole afternoon. He had returned much ab- 
sorbed, and the next afternoon he had absented 
himself again. Anna had asked him if he had 
not heard from Neaera, and he had answered in- 
dignantly that all were conspiring to make a scape- 
goat of her. Anna had protested, but every word 
she said had only contributed to increase his in- 
dignation. He was evidently caught in the siren's 
meshes and hopelessly under her influence. What, 
asked Anna, should be done? 

I pointed out to Anna that Ariston was much 
better able to help her in such a matter, and asked 
to be allowed to send Ariston to her the following 
day, but she demurred. I guessed at the reason 
of her objection and suggested her father calling 
on Ariston. But her father knew nothing of the 
matter and Anna thought it unwise to let him 
know. 

" Then let your mother call on Ariston at his 
ofiice," suggested I. 

" That would be better," answered Anna. 

And I arranged to let her know next day when 
Ariston would be at his office. 

Ariston was much interested to learn that he 
had guessed right, and very willingly gave an 
appointment for the next day. 

283 



The Demetrian 

Meanwhile, the district attorney had obtained 
an order of arrest against the editor, and next 
day's issue was edited by a new man. It contained 
a statement of the arrest of the editor, professed 
to suspend judgment until after the trial, and sub- 
mitted under the circumstances the wisdom of 
silence on the subject. 

But the affair had made a profound impres- 
sion upon the public and the legislature, and al- 
though Chairo's guilt as to conspiracy was clear, 
it was felt to be equally clear that he had sincerely 
done what he could to prevent the attack upon the 
House of Detention. Moreover, he was now 
being unfairly treated and this created a revulsion 
of feeling in his favor. Ariston was much en- 
couraged, for he did not conceal from me his con- 
viction that, as matters stood before this incident, 
the feeling of a large majority of the legislature 
was that an example ought to be made of Chairo. 
So long as this feeling prevailed, no amnesty bill 
could have been passed that included him, and 
there was no reason to believe that he could expect 
anything less than the full penalty of the law at 
the hands of the courts. 



284 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE ELECTION 

I OFTEN heard Chairo and his friends dis- 
cuss their plans for the coming electoral 
campaign, but have not set these things 
down because there was in them nothing that was 
necessary to my story or very different from the 
political campaigns of our day. There was less 
corruption, for there were no needy persons in the 
state; but corruption was by no means unknown, 
especially since the development of private in- 
dustry had created a private and transferable 
money system, and the relatively large wealth of 
such men as Campbell and Masters caused them 
to be feared. Campbell, however, had no political 
aspirations; his hoarding instinct occupied his 
time and devoured his ambition. Masters, on the 
other hand, had a large fund at his disposal which 
it was feared he might use in his unreasoning de- 
sire to vindicate Neaera. But when Masters re- 
turned from Boston and read the testimony taken 
by the magistrate he called on Chairo to express 

285 



The Demetrian 

regret at the attitude he had taken and to agree 
with him as to the coming campaign. 

Masters was still in favor of the amnesty bill, 
but he saw that a general bill that would include 
Neaera could not, and ought not, to be passed. 
He doubted the possibility of pushing through 
the legislature one that would altogether protect 
Chairo, and frankly told Chairo so. He was sur- 
prised to hear Chairo admit his own concurrence 
with this view. 

" I cannot play a conspicuous part," said 
Chairo, " in a campaign in which I am so deeply 
involved; I propose to stand for the legislature 
in my own district, but I shall address my con- 
stituents only once, and then I shall make it clear 
to them that I shall not regard my election as a 
vindication of the course I have adopted in setting 
myself against the state, but as evidence that upon 
my frank avowal that I was wrong I still have 
their sympathy and confidence." 

Masters suggested that they should attend on 
the governor, who was standing for reelection, and 
agree with him as to the course to be taken, with a 
view to diminishing to the utmost possible the 
chances of a serious collision between the govern- 
ment and the opposition on the amnesty question. 

I was very much surprised one day to find 
286 



The Election 

both Masters and the governor dining at our table 
in our hall, and to learn that although the gov- 
ernor had offices in the capitol he lived with his 
family in the same apartment in which he had 
always lived, and, except when he was actually 
engaged in the duties of his office, there was noth- 
ing to distinguish his manner of living from that 
of the humblest of his fellow citizens. 

He was a man of an extremely simple exterior, 
though his head was distinguished and his lan- 
guage chosen. We conversed about the political 
outlook, and over our coffee, which Ariston made 
himself in our rooms, the governor summed up 
the position as follows: 

'' The country districts will send us a large 
majority hostile to Chairo, because they are con- 
servative and abhor violence. Chairo will have 
from the city and most of the large towns a small 
but staunch and intelligent following. Masters 
will influence a large number of votes, as will also 
the Demetrian cult. I don't myself think the state 
can afford to allow any man to organize an armed 
rebellion — not even Chairo — without putting upon 
him some mark of its authority, and I think it 
would be unwise in Chairo's interests to ask that 
he should escape without censure and even punish- 
ment. I propose in my electoral address to advise 

287 



The Demetrian 

pardon for all who have been led by others into 
rebellion, severity for those who led them into it, 
and for those leaders who can plead extenuating 
circumstances, moderation." 

We all felt that the governor's attitude was not 
only wise on general political grounds, but also 
from the narrower point of view of Chairo's per- 
sonal interest. 

The nomination of candidates at the primaries 
evinced a political animosity against Chairo of 
which we were altogether unaware. To our 
amazement the notion that Neaera was the vic- 
tim of a concerted effort to exonerate Chairo at 
her expense had so widely prevailed that neither 
discussion nor argument was any longer of any 
avail. All who defended Chairo were hounded 
down as the persecutors of a defenseless woman, 
and were it not for the votes of the women, who 
were less obtuse on the question than the men, 
neither Chairo nor any of his following would 
have received a nomination. As it was, Chairo 
was nominated only by a dangerously narrow 
majority, and most of his party were dropped alto- 
gether. But the very women who were not de- 
ceived into vindicating Neaera went far beyond 
the limits of wisdom in their defense of the Deme- 
trian cult. Although Arkles and Irene did their 

288 



The Election 

utmost to keep the enthusiasm of their supporters 
within reasonable bounds, the belief that the cult 
was attacked caused the nomination of a class of 
candidates who, if elected, were likely to do 
Chairo scant justice by their votes. 

For some weeks I lived in a turmoil of polit- 
ical campaigning. It was a relief to be wakened 
on Christmas by a peal of Cathedral bells, and 
these over, to hear in the distant corridors an 
approaching hymn swell its note of praise as it 
passed our door and die away as it disappeared 
in the distance. We were all glad to feel that the 
electioneering was over, for Christmas Day is de- 
voted entirely to the morning ritual and afternoon 
family gatherings; the 26th is devoted to final 
athletic competitions, the crowning of the victors, 
and public balls; and the 27th to the silent vote. 

I am ashamed to say that although I had often 
delighted in the exterior of the Cathedral from 
a distance, I had never entered it till Christmas 
morning, for our quarters were some distance 
from it, and such religious exercises as I had 
attended with Ariston were held either in a 
neighboring chapel or at the temple of Demeter. 
The scene as I approached the Cathedral re- 
minded me of what my imagination had some- 
times constructed out of mediaeval chronicles 

289 



The Demetrian 

around the spires of Chartres. It was a cold day 
and all the approaches to the Cathedral were 
crowded with men, women, and children, covered 
with outer garments that far more resembled those 
we see in the thirteenth century tapestries than the 
Greek dress that had first surprised me at Tyring- 
ham and in the interiors of New York. I learned 
that even in summer it was usual to don a special 
dress when attending a church service, not only 
out of respect for the church, but out of a sense of 
the artistic inappropriateness of a Greek dress in 
a gothic Cathedral. 

The gigantic doors of the main entrance were 
thrown wide open, and as I mounted the long 
flight of steps that led to it, I was delighted and 
bewitched by a facade, wide as Bourges, richly 
sculptured as Rheims, and flanked by spires more 
beautiful than those of Soissons. From the deep, 
dim Cathedral itself came the pealing notes of the 
organ which, as we entered, made the air throb; 
I was rejoiced to find that the secret of old glass 
had been rediscovered, but so great a blaze of 
light came from the five great western portals that 
I did not fully appreciate the mystic colors of the 
vitraux till the doors were closed. Thereupon, 
from an entrance in the south transept there 
marched in a procession which, though more 

290 



The Election 

familiar than that I had already witnessed in the 
temple of Demeter, far exceeded in splendor and 
impressiveness anything I had seen before. Less 
graceful, perhaps, than in the Demetrian cult but 
more solemn and devout, marched in the acolytes, 
swinging censers; they were followed by the choir, 
singing a Gregorian chant, than which assuredly 
nothing more subtly conveying the Christian idea 
has ever been composed. In order came after 
them the great officials of the city and state, in- 
cluding the mayor and the governor, a full rep- 
resentation from the priests and priestesses of 
Asclepius and from those of Demeter; the pro- 
cession was closed by the lesser ecclesiastics bear- 
ing the cross, the canons, and, last of all, the 
bishop. The ritual did not differ much from that 
of the Roman and Anglican churches, except that 
the music was rendered with as much care and 
effect as at Munich or Bayreuth. 

The sermon did not last more than ten min- 
utes, and closed with an earnest reminder that 
in casting our votes we were exercising the highest 
act of sovereignty of which man is capable, and 
an entreaty so to cast them that the church — and 
all that the church stood for — might feel itself 
strengthened in the legislature as well as in the 
hearts of the people. 

291 



The Demetrian 

Whether on emerging from the Cathedral this 
solemn exhortation left as little trace in the shape 
of actual conduct as in our day I, of course, can- 
not tell, but I think the language of the headstrong 
during the succeeding days was less violent and 
the animus evinced less bitter for it. 

The Christmas dinner which followed the 
service was held in the common hall, for it was 
deemed an occasion when all should join and con- 
tribute to make the day a happy one. Families 
either arranged to dine at separate tables or united 
to dine at one, and on this great festival wine 
flowed in abundance at the expense of the state. 

Our own party consisted for the most part of 
the Tyringham colony, to which, however, were 
added many new city friends. Ariston sat be- 
tween Anna of Ann and Irene. We missed, how- 
ever, Chairo and Lydia; the one dined alone from 
discretion, the other remained at the cloister. 
We were not a merry party, for the prospect for 
both of these two was dark, and when we drank 
the toast of " absent friends " there was a tear in 
many an eye. 



292 



CHAPTER XXVII 

THE JOINT SESSION 

ELECTION day passed quietly; it resulted 
in an overwhelming majority in favor of 
the government, and the character of the 
majority was clearly animated by the intention to 
visit heavily upon Chairo the consequences of his 
actions. 

We had all understood that Lydia's return to 
New York was due to some determination on her 
part, but what that determination was not even 
Ariston knew. The first session of the legislature 
on the ist of January, '94, was attended by the 
deepest misgiving on the part of all Chairo's 
friends; nothing could be determined by the pro- 
ceedings of that day— which were purely formal— 
but on the next an incident occurred which 
showed how matters stood. The previous Speaker 
of the Senate who would, if reelected, preside at 
the joint session of both houses, was a man of 
moderate views, who had for years impartially 

293 



The Demetrian 

administered the duties of his office. It was a 
matter of course that he should be renominated as 
the candidate of the government, and a motion 
to this effect was duly made by Peleas. But it 
was seconded by Masters, and this produced the 
effect of an understanding between the govern- 
ment and Chairo's men which exasperated the 
irreconcilables; one of them, therefore, in a 
moment of impulse nominated a distinguished 
Asclepian priest, who had been elected on the 
platform of war on Chairo; his nomination was 
hotly seconded by a chorus of voices, and although 
he was opposed by the government party and by 
the supporters of both Chairo and Masters, he was 
beaten only by a dozen votes. 

The situation looked critical for Chairo when 
Masters stood up to bring the amnesty bill before 
the joint session ; he was received in a manner sig- 
nally different from that which usually greeted 
him; the applause of his own particular adherents 
sounded faint and hollow and only served to ac- 
centuate the silence of the rest. He did not speak 
at length, reserving himself till after the report 
of the investigating committee had been read. 
He was followed by several speakers, who re- 
peated the unreasoning vituperation which had 
marked the electoral campaign, all of them op- 

294 



The Joint Session 

posed to the passage of an amnesty bill of any 
kind. 

The real incident of the day was the reading of 
the report of the investigating committee, which, 
for the first time, officially brought out the facts 
as they were. The chairman of the committee 
who read the report concluded by a brief expres- 
sion of personal opinion to the effect that after 
the reading of the report it was impossible for 
any one duly conscious of his duties to the state 
to approve of the amnesty bill as read. Doubt- 
less many — perhaps, indeed, most of those con- 
cerned — had been unduly influenced by others, 
and for these he was himself prepared to cast a 
vote of pardon. But all the guilty parties were 
not before them. He was interrupted here by a 
loud murmur of approval and by a counter dem- 
onstration of those who still believed in Neaera's 
innocence. He did not propose to try any one 
in their absence (applause), but assuredly it was 
not proper to pardon any one in their absence 
either (loud applause) . There was one case which 
demanded particular attention; he referred to the 
man who had organized the whole conspiracy. 
(There was a deep silence here, and many invol- 
untarily turned to where Chairo sat erect and 
immovable with his arms crossed.) There was 

295 



The Demetrian 

evidence to show that after he had effected the 
particular personal end he had in view, he had 
sent a message intended to put an end to further 
violence. He asked the legislature to consider 
how far this tardy, unsuccessful, and, as it ap- 
peared to him, half-hearted effort at reparation 
deserved to be taken into account in mitigation. 

This conclusion was greeted with the wildest 
applause; members stood up and, with vociferat- 
ing gestures directed at the corner where Chairo 
sat, demanded justice and the full measure of the 
law. 

It was expected that Masters would take the 
floor, but in the heated condition of the house he 
judged it wiser that Arkles should be heard before 
him. So Arkles slowly rose, and straightening 
himself to his full height, addressed the speaker. 
The disorder which had followed the speech of the 
chairman of the committee immediately subsided, 
and the spokesman of the Demetrian cult was 
listened to in respectful silence. " It is my honor," 
he said, " to address you on behalf of a religious 
cult which has been outraged, upon the question 
whether this outrage shall go unpunished or 
whether the cult shall be vindicated by the visi- 
tation on the guilty of the full measure of the 
law." 

296 



The Joint Session 

He used advisedly the very catchword " full 
measure of the law," which had never failed to 
secure applause at the meetings held by the indig- 
nant supporters of the cult, and his purpose was 
fulfilled, for he at once got them on his side, as 
the approval that greeted his opening fully 
showed. He then reviewed the history of the 
cult, its principles, the benefit it had bestowed; 
he dwelt upon the earnestness of its devotees, and 
contrasted the social conditions that prevailed 
where the cult was strong with those that pre- 
vailed where it was non-existent. For two hours 
he kept the unflagging attention of the audience 
with the most carefully reasoned exposition of 
what the cult stood for that that generation had 
heard. Clearly the conclusion to be drawn from 
his argument was, that an institution so essential 
to public welfare was entitled to the further pro- 
tection of the state, and that an outrage upon it 
must be so punished as to render any repetition 
of the offense to the highest degree improbable. 
Sure of this conclusion, the irreconcilables joined 
with the government ranks in loud approval of 
Arkles's discourse. But here Arkles turned an 
unexpected corner, for after having demanded 
justice, in tones that filled the house with a rever- 
beration of applause, he suddenly asked the ques- 

297 



The Demetrian 

tlon : " And in this case, what is the justice we 
have a right to ask? " 

He turned at this point to the desk by him, 
filled a glass with water, drank it, and continued: 

" The Demetrian cult is not founded on legal 
enactment. It is not propped by any state author- 
ity. It derives all its strength from the appeal it 
makes to reason and morality. So long as it finds 
support in the public conscience it is strong; the 
moment it appeals from conscience to the state 
it confesses a weakness of which the cult is not 
to-day aware. Nay, there never was a day when 
the cult was more strong than now, never when 
it was better able to vindicate its rights upon 
its own merits, that is to say, not by appeal to 
the state for protection, but by appeal to every 
man and woman in the commonwealth for sup- 
port. 

" And here it is essential to make a careful dis- 
tinction between acts committed in violation of 
the law of the land and those committed in viola- 
tion of our sanctuary. As to the first, he, as spokes- 
man of the cult, had nothing to say; the state alone 
could deal with them. As to the last, they had 
received the prayerful deliberation of the Deme- 
trian council, and he was instructed now to read 
the following resolution: 

298 



The Joint Session 

" ' Inasmuch as the exercise of our duties can 
be justified only by the extent to which this ex- 
ercise is approved, not merely by the worshippers 
of Demeter but by the community at large; 

" ' Inasmuch as such exercise deals with the 
most sacred and intimate passions of the human 
heart; 

" ' We now solemnly declare that we count 
only upon devotion to the cult for protection, and 
deem it wiser to sufifer sacrilege to go unpunished 
than by retaliation to keep alive in the hearts of 
the guilty or of those who support them, a spark 
of hostility or resentment.' " 

A profound silence followed the reading of 
this resolution, and Arkles concluded as follows: 

" It has been the policy of our commonwealth 
to abandon the principle of punishment for crime. 
Those who are unfit for social, life we remove 
from social life and try to make them fit; until 
they are fit for it, we keep them isolated. Do not 
let us depart from a salutary rule in the interests 
of the cult, which the cult itself has largely con- 
^ tributed to introduce and which it is deeply in- 
terested in keeping alive. There are contingen- 
cies, Mr. Speaker, when the highest justice is 
mercy." 

When Arkles sat down he left the session in 
a state of suspended judgment. There was ap- 
plause, but it was the applause of men convinced 

299. 



The Demetrian 

against their will, and the irreconcilables re- 
mained absolutely silent. The day was drawing 
to a close, and the session adjourned almost in a 
state of confusion. 

As we walked home to our quarters we none 
of us were inclined to speak. " That speech of 
Arkles will bear fruit," said Ariston. But Chairo 
was gloomily silent, and I did not have the heart 
to speak words of encouragement I did not feel. 
We were joined at the bath by quite a number of 
our house, who seemed anxious to cheer us up by 
the gossip of the day. All were much exercised 
by the result of the four-mile race which had just 
been run. It was the first time a woman had ever 
entered for this race, and she had succeeded in 
making a dead heat of it. Chairo, who had ex- 
celled in these sports, was gradually aroused from 
his discouragement, and, without much reason for 
it, we returned to the session next day in a bet- 
ter humor than circumstances warranted, for the 
whole day was taken up in violent harangues 
against the incriminated parties, some attacking 
Chairo not only as a conspirator but as a coward 
for treachery to Neaera, others attacking Neaera 
without vindicating Chairo. 

That evening Chairo left us to dine with a 
few of his followers, who, feeling the situation 

300 



The Joint Session 

desperate, advised a conference with Peleas, Mas- 
ters, and Arkles, with a view to suggesting an 
amendment to the amnesty bill that would secure 
a majority without going to the extremes de- 
manded by the irreconcilables. 



301 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

LYDIA TO THE RESCUE 

POLITICAL offenses, such as the one with 
which Chairo was charged, were punished 
not by confinement in farm colonies but 
by imprisonment in a fortress, and had this disad- 
vantage that, whereas the term in the former case 
could be diminished by good conduct, in the latter 
case it was fixed for a number of years and was 
generally of inordinate length. This was the 
remnant of a code prepared at a time when social 
crimes were not much feared, whereas political 
crimes were regarded as of utmost danger to the 
commonwealth. The maximum term of impris- 
onment was fifty years, and this for Chairo would 
be practically equivalent to imprisonment for 
life. The irreconcilables clamored for nothing 
less than this. It was no small credit to Chairo's 
character in the community that with so heavy a 
sentence impending over him, it occurred to no 
one — not even his worst enemies — to ask that 
special precautions be made to prevent his escape. 

302 



Lydia to the Rescue 

That he would keep his parole was never for a 
moment doubted. 

The difficulty attending any conclusion arose 
from the heterogeneous and unorganized char- 
acter of the irreconcilables ; they were split up 
into a number of factions, agreed only upon one 
thing — the " full measure of the law " for Chairo; 
in every other respect they differed, some de- 
manding what they called justice, on grounds 
which they could not explain, but the reasonable- 
ness of which they made a matter of conscience 
and morality; others declared themselves to be 
vindicating " principles " which, upon examina- 
tion, turned out to be pure assumptions built upon 
prejudice and temper; others professed to be act- 
ing as champions of the cult, too helpless to be 
able to defend itself, and although willing and 
anxious to discuss and explain their attitude, could 
never be brought to any other conclusion than the 
" full measure of the law " — a phrase which had 
obtained as complete a mastery over them as the 
" sleep " of a hypnotizing doctor over a hypnotic 
subject. 

The third day of the session opened in as great 
uncertainty as before. Peleas had not spoken, 
and was unwilling to speak, until some amend- 
ment could be hit upon which had a reasonable 

303 



The Demetrian 

chance of uniting a majority. The debate was, 
therefore, left almost entirely in the hands of the 
irreconcilables, who vied with one another in the 
application to Chairo of epithets that were pic- 
turesque and vituperative. Toward the close of 
the session, however, an incident occurred that 
was unexpected and startling: Arkles arose and 
asked that the courtesy of the floor be extended 
to Lydia Second. Chairo half rose in protest, but 
Masters, who sat beside him, whispered a word 
in his ear and he resumed his seat, burying his 
chin in his breast. A loud murmur of excitement 
filled the chamber; the motion was put, and it was 
carried without a dissenting voice; the house sat 
wrapt in silence awaiting the entrance of the 
speaker. Soon Irene was seen coming down a 
side aisle, and by her side, shrouded by a veil, a 
figure, which all immediately recognized as 
Lydia's. When they reached a point half way 
down the aisle they paused; Irene said a word to 
Lydia, and Lydia removed her veil. 

I had not seen her since we parted at Tyring- 
ham; as I looked at her preparing herself to 
speak I experienced a conflict of emotion that 
brought beads of perspiration to my forehead; my 
love for her now kindled into admiration, the 
hopelessness of it, the fate of Chairo, an un- 

304 



Lydia to the Rescue 

doubted admiration for him and yet a jealousy 
of him that tortured me, willingness, nay, almost 
a burning desire to effect Lydia's happiness at any 
cost — all these things struggled within me for 
mastery, as with compressed lips I sat waiting to 
hear her speak. She was obviously suffering from 
an emotion that made her eyes water and her 
throat dry; she lifted her hand to her bosom once 
or twice in futile agitation, but mastering her- 
self, she stiffened, and, at last, as it were by a su- 
preme effort, lifting her head high, began: 

" I do not presume, Mr. Speaker and gentle- 
men of the legislature, to present myself before 
you trusting in my strength. I depend rather on 
my weakness, for I am a woman, and because I 
am a woman who has faltered " — she corrected 
herself — " who has suffered, you will hear me." 

She spoke very low but very distinctly, and 
there was in the chamber a silence so complete 
that she could be heard at the utmost corner of it. 

" For him who has joined with me in this 
misadventure I do not presume to speak at all. 
He is a man, and among men, able to hold his 
own. But you cannot strike him without striking 
me, and it is for myself I plead." 

Chairo's chin buried itself deeper In his breast, 
but he controlled the impulse to protest. Indeed, 

305 



The Demetrian 

there was a note in Lydia's voice that brought a 
lump into his throat. He could not have protested 
had he dared. 

Irene had sent for a glass of water; Lydia 
partook of it, and then, raising her voice, pro- 
ceeded: 

" Ever since I was restored to my home I have 
kept silence, because I felt — and I was so advised 
— that a moment would come when I should be 
better understood than at a time when the public 
mind was inflamed by revolution and bloodshed. 
As to these things, I have cruelly felt the extent 
to which I was the occasion of them, but I ask 
you to consider whether indeed I was the cause. 
And I ask you, too, not to confuse the question 
raised by the cult of Demeter with those other 
questions for which the rebels stood. In these 
last I have had no share and to them I shall not 
again refer. They have no part in the question 
you have to decide. To give them a part would 
be to do me a great wrong. 

" And as regards the cult of Demeter, there 
is no devouter daughter of the cult than I; and 
that I should stand to-day, arrayed in the eyes of 
some of you against the cult, chokes my utterance 
and fills my eyes with tears. Nor should I have 
had strength to plead my cause with you to-day 

306 



Lydia to the Rescue 

had I not come to you leaning on one of Demeter's 
worthiest votaries." 

Here Lydia put her hand on Irene's shoulder, 
and Irene looked into her face and smiled. 

" For in my heart there is a reverence for 
Demeter so profound that when the mission was 
tendered to me, I felt that a cubit had been 
added to my stature; I felt a strength grow in me 
to make what sacrifice was needful, and as day 
passed day the sacrifice grew less and my strength 
grew more. 

" But oh, fellow-worshippers of Demeter," 
and she looked here at the part of the hall where 
the irreconcilables had grouped themselves, " do 
not frown on me when I say that there was also 
in my heart another reverence, another strength, 
of which I was not sufficiently aware ; and in your 
faith in the cult you serve, do not blind yourself 
to that other cult to which, whether we will or 
no, we are all — yes, all — subject. We may harden 
our hearts to it, we may bring it as a sacrifice 
upon your altar, but if it has once grown deep 
enough, it overpowers all the rest — I am not 
ashamed to say it here — before you who ask mercy 
for Chairo and you who ask for his destruction, 
I am not ashamed to publish it to all the world — 
stronger than reverence for Demeter, stronger 

307 



The Demetrian 

than the unutterable honor of the Demetrian mis- 
sion — is the love of a woman for a man." 

She paused; there was no applause, but the 
breathless silence that reigned bore a higher trib- 
ute to the impression made than any spoken word 
or gesture. 

" And when love came it brought with it a 
sense of duty to another, so that I no longer stood 
merely between Demeter and my love, I stood 
also between Demeter and Chairo " — a loud mur- 
mur of disapproval greeted these words. Lydia, 
however, went bravely on. " But I looked with 
suspicion upon an argument that so favored my 
own inclination, and believing duty to lie in re- 
sistance to inclination rather than in consent to it, 
I strangled my love, and with a pride in my own 
sacrifice that was false and bad I accepted the 
mission." 

Again a murmur of disapproval filled the hall. 
This time Lydia acknowledged it by turning to 
the corner whence it came. 

" Yes, I repeat it — with a pride In my own 
sacrifice that was false and bad — for it gave me 
strength to do a thing that was wrong! What is 
heroic in one is vanity in another. And I thank 
you for that expression of disapproval that re- 
minds me to distinguish those to whom it is an 

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Lydia to the Rescue 

ugly hypocrisy. There are women — and may 
their names be blessed — who, before their hearts 
have been kindled by love, bear within them a 
capacity for sacrifice and a longing for maternity 
which makes of them fitting subjects for the 
Demetrian mission; but when a woman has once 
harbored the young God Eros, when she has by 
implication, if not by express promise, sanctioned 
the harboring of him in another, then the strength 
that can disown her love and break that promise 
is drawn from a vanity that is foolish, or a conceit 
that is contemptible; and as I look back to the 
day when, after weeks of weakening struggle, I 
arose from the bed of torment strangely endowed 
with a strength that enabled me to make unmoved 
my final vows, I see that my strength came not 
from Demeter but from self-righteousness and 
self-conceit. And I make this bitter confession 
before you all that the fault may rest where it 
should, not upon you, priests and priestesses of 
Demeter " — and here she looked up at the gal- 
lery where they sat — *' not upon him " — and she 
turned almost imperceptibly to Chairo — "but 
upon me." 

Her voice sank as she said these words, and 
there broke from many of us a murmur of sym- 
pathy. 

309 



The Demetrian 

" But these things," she continued in a louder 
voice, " are of little importance by the side of 
what I have yet to say. Pardon me, if I have had 
to speak of myself; it is not often — and, indeed, it 
is distressful that so private a thing as this should 
become matter of public concern. But you have 
to decide an issue in which the conduct of one 
least worthy of your attention has become set up, 
as it were, before you as the conduct of all my 
sex. It is not I that am judged, 'but all who are 
unworthy of the mission — or shall I not rather 
say — unfitted for it. For though I am willing — 
nay, desire — to accept my full share of blame, yet 
am I not willing that my sex shall in my person 
be judged less worthy than it is. Believe me, that 
noble as is the mission of Demeter, noble also is 
the love of a woman for a man, and though I bow 
my head as I confess my unfitness for the one, in 
vindication of the other I hold my head erect." 

She straightened herself at these words, and 
her stature helped to give to this vindication both 
dignity and strength. There was something splen- 
did in the gesture, the emphasis, and the inflection 
with which these words were said. For the first 
time Lydia's speech was here interrupted by ap- 
plause; it began far away from her and was soon 
caught up by others, it swelled through the build- 

310 



Lydia to the Rescue 

ing, and feelings long pent up in hushed atten- 
tion to her now found relief in an expression of 
triumphant approval; a few in their excitement 
rose to their feet, then more, till all, except Chairo, 
who remained resolutely seated, stood wildly 
gesticulating their admiration for the girl who 
had the courage to face them in vindication of 
a love upon which some had wished to throw 
disgrace, but which now she held up to universal 
honor. 

The applause lasted several minutes; if it died 
away in one corner it was vociferously renewed in 
another, and when at last, out of very weariness, 
it came to an end, Lydia resumed : 

" But all I have said is but a preface to what 
I have still to say: I have spoken to you of myself, 
but what shall I say to you of Chairo? I have 
told you of a duty I felt to him, but to every duty 
is there not a corresponding right? And if Chairo 
had rights does he not stand, too, for the rights of 
all his sex? " 

Once more the chamber rang with renewed 
applause, and Chairo for the first time raised his 
head and looked at Lydia. Now at last she had 
lifted the subject to a level which eliminated him. 
He was no longer the issue; she was speaking for 
all men, for the rights universal of manhood, 

311 



The Demetrian 

which the cult had, in his case, ignored and must 
at last be vindicated. 

" I have told you that by implication, if not 
by express words, Chairo had reason to know I 
loved him; was he to stand by and see the rights 
I had given him denied, rights for which he has 
stood, not for himself alone, but for all men long 
before his own became involved? He stands 
charged here with sacrilege and with violence. 
Mr. Speaker, and gentlemen of the legislature, so 
far as I am concerned, he is guilty of neither the 
one nor the other." 

A deep murmur passed through the chamber 
as Lydia's voice impressively lowered on these 
final words. 

" Had the woman he snatched from Demeter's 
sanctuary been indeed fitted for it, then he would 
have been guilty of both. But he knew I was not 
fitted for it, he knew that I belonged to him, he 
knew that once I felt his presence in my room I 
would consent — and I consented.^'' 

Chairo, whose eyes had remained riveted on 
Lydia ever since he raised them, now lowered 
them again, and he covered his face with his 
hands. That so sacred a thing to him as Lydia 
and his love for her should be dragged into a 
public discussion was cruel to him, but that the 

312 



Lydia to the Rescue 

story should be told as Lydia told it, filled his 
heart with a mixture of triumph and bitterness 
he could not endure to show. 

" And so, Mr. Speaker, with my confession of 
consent, the charge against Chairo of sacrilege 
and violence falls to the ground. As to those who 
against his bidding sought to rescue their leader 
from his bonds I have this to say: When there 
shall have disappeared from the hearts of men 
the loyalty, devotion, and sacrifice that prompted 
an act of violence forever to be deplored, then let 
this world and all that is in it disappear from the 
constellations of God. They erred, but they erred 
in a cause they believed to be righteous, and I 
protest — I plead the state is strong enough to grant 
them pardon. 

" Every institution, human and divine, has to 
pay a price for the blessings it bestows — dura lex 
sed lex. Eventually, perhaps, wisdom may so in- 
crease among us that the price all pay shall grow 
less and less; eventually, the mission maybe neither 
offered to nor accepted by those unfit for it; per- 
haps, indeed, the events of last month may con- 
tribute to this wisdom, but to-day, O priests and 
priestesses of Demeter, join with me in the prayer 
to our legislators that they do not, by visiting on 
these men too severely the consequences of their 

313 



The Demetrian 

errors, bring discredit upon a cult so precious and 
so noble as that of the goddess you serve. Great 
is Demeter! But great also is Eros. May wis- 
dom so guide your counsels that Eros, no longer 
tempted to destroy the altars of Demeter, may 
strengthen them and build them up, and so, 
through continence and sacrifice, remain for us 
as beautiful as he is strong!" 

Lydia bowed her head over these words and 
gave her hand to Irene. We all sat motionless; 
not a sound was heard as they slowly turned and 
proceeded to leave the chamber. Then, with one 
accord, we rose, and in a breathless silence the 
two women passed out. 

We resumed our seats, and for some minutes 
no one spoke. At last Arkles moved that, in view 
of the remarkable and touching words they had 
just heard, the joint session adjourn for the day. 
" For," he added, " neither I, nor apparently any 
of my colleagues, are able or willing by any word 
of our own to efface or modify the impression they 
have left upon us." 

" You have heard the motion," said the speak- 
er. " In the absence of a dissenting voice the 
session will adjourn for the day." Not a voice was 
heard; we rose and left the chamber in silence. 



314 



CONCLUSION 

My narrative has now come to a close: an 
amnesty bill was passed that included every per- 
son charged, except Neaera, and deprived Chairo 
of his political rights until the legislature should 
by a joint resolution restore them; the editor ar- 
rested for libel was found guilty and committed 
to a penal colony. 

Lydia married Chairo. And Anna of Ann 
did not visit on Ariston his indifference too heav- 
ily, but her nuptials were darkened by the ab- 
sence of Harmes. Out of a bold and crooked 
game Neaera had secured this one small satisfac- 
tion. 



315